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WATCH: Mġarr Resident Speaks Out About Effects Solar Farm Plans Will Have On Malta

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Mġarr resident Joe Grima, who has been at the forefront of the fight against the controversial proposed solar farms, recently spoke out about the proposed plans in an interview with Moviment Graffitti.

A proposed development of greenhouses and solar farms on seven football pitches worth of ODZ land in the heart of Mġarr has been facing stiff opposition from residents and environmental activists.

“If this project goes forward, this beautiful, agricultural piece of land that all Mġarr residents benefit from in one way or another will be transformed into greenhouses with solar farms on top of them,” Grima stated remorsely. 

Grima shared his knowledge of the area, explaining that the roads that border the site are already prone to flooding as is.

This reality will most definitely be further aggravated if the fields within the area are all covered in greenhouses, with rainwater no longer being absorbed.

“Instead of rainwater being absorbed by the fields, it will flood towards ‘Triq San Pietru’, which leads directly to the Haġrat temples,” he explained. 

The area around Haġrat temples, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, has already seen multiple incidents in the past, with residents reporting flooding in their garages, cars getting dragged by the rain, and even the wall itself surrounding the temples getting destroyed.

Unfortunately, these issues will become considerably worse if the application for these solar farms were to be approved.

About one-quarter of protected garigue while its ecosystem houses endemic and indigenous plants such as shrubs, carob trees, and wild thyme, traditional rubble walls and their habitats, including archeological remains and a traditional Maltese ‘girna’. 

The recommendation period for this application ended over the last few days, with more than 1400 people appealing against it.

Malta is currently facing an influx of applications made on Outside Development Zones, which are being flagged as loopholes for the usage of agricultural land. A similar application has also been made by the same applicant, Joseph Schembri on Electrofix Group, for solar farms on agricultural land in Burmarrad.

As it stands, the Rural Policy does not allow solar farms on agricultural land, and it suggests that they are ideally constructed in abandoned quarries or roofs.

What do you make of this? 

READ NEXT: ‘We’ve Lost Għargħur,’ Says Resident Living Next To Green Field Which Church Sold To Developers For High-Rise Project

When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's either shooting film or out at sea. She's passionate about society and the culture that made her. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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