A group of Marsa residents has voiced its opposition to a decision to relocate an oil tank cleaning facility to Marsa.
Addressing a protest this morning, representatives of the civil society group Moviment Graffitti slammed the government for stealthily deciding to transfer the tanks to Marsa, without having carried out any studies or consultation beforehand, insisting that all plans for the relocation be scrapped.
Last month, Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg announced that the tanks would finally be moved out of Fort Ricasoli, a decision Moviment Graffitti said it welcomed, adding however that the government could not solve one problem by creating another.
The group said it had consulted with experts in the field and had been informed that Marsa, “due to its topography and socio-economic activity, is not suitable for oil cleaning activity since fumes generated from oil cleaning will remain trapped in the town, close to residents, students and workers”.
Residents, unaware that the tanks were to be transferred to Marsa, voiced concerns about the pollution generated by the facilities operations and insisted that what wasn’t good for Kalkara should be equally unacceptable for Marsa.
Moviment Graffitti described the decision as shocking and arbitrary, casting doubt on the move’s motive.
“The named company already has land and its operations in Marsa and this footprint will increase as a result of this deal. We, therefore, ask if this relocation could have been motivated by private economic interests, rather than social, environmental and health considerations,” Graffitti said.
It was equally shocking, Graffitti said, that the decision had been taken behind residents’ backs, the group said. “It is in no way acceptable for this decision to have been taken behind the backs of residents, companies, schools and other organisations based in Marsa.”
Finally, the group also cast doubt on whether or not Malta actually needed oil cleaning tanks, given the supposed lack of an operator in the sector during the past nine years.
Rather than increased pollution and industrial activity, Marsa needed a plan aimed at improving residents wellbeing and increasing social spaces in the locality.
What do you make of this decision?