A number of naturalists have raised the alarm over a development in Baħrija that they say could have devastating effects on its surroundings.
“There is an environmental massacre taking place in Baħrija, limits of Rabat precisely ‘Ras ir-Raheb’ overlooking the ‘Fomm ir-Riħ’ bay,” Julian Scherer and Arnold Sciberras told Lovin Malta.
“This is a Natura 2000 site partly managed by Heritage Malta,” they continued, “with all signs and access limitation by the same authority. This was a truly natural gem in its own class. The development which took place in the last nine months and took an even faster pace in the last couple of months is of shocking proportions.”
Heritage Malta does not manage the whole promontory, but only the site at the very tip.
Their concern was raised when they saw the traditionally quiet, green area become cleared, with trucks driving in to develop the land.
“A natural site has become a quarry,” Sciberras said. “All the natural species there have been destroyed, helping alien species take over native ones, leading to an imbalance in biodiversity.” He also noted that the area used to be one where people could go for walks and enjoy the natural landscape.
“Now, there is more stone and masonry there than in the entire village of Baħrija.”
While the development has permits in order, complaints have been issues and are being looked into by authorities.
However, with roads apparently being built for construction vehicles to pass by, and severe earth-shaking movement occurring as works continue, the naturalists fear that any species, especially fragile endemic species, may not survive the development.
“This is a natural murder with the local environmental authorities being accomplices,” the pair said. “Surely that what has already been done is already a tragedy and can only be worse if not stopped immediately.”