I check the air quality statistics throughout Europe regularly and am always taken aback that Malta’s air quality is usually as bad as that of London, Paris, Rome, Athens, etc even though the population and traffic of these localities amounts to millions and against which Malta compares at about 450,000 and in comparison much less road traffic – in number NOT percentage.
Climate change, greenery, open spaces, the environment and increasing pollution have now become a priority throughout the Islands. A recent Transport Malta statistic showed there are no less than 387,775 registered motor vehicles in the Islands. This is alarmingly high for such a small population.
The Government has been stressing and has given incentives to change to electric-powered vehicles and greater use of bicycles and scooters and has now finalised suggestions for a Malta Metro System to encourage people to make less use of private vehicles.
Experts from ARUP, an independent and international firm of designers, planners, engineers, architects, consultants and technical specialists, were requested to come up with feasible proposals and they have suggested three underground lines and 25 stations covering some heavy traffic areas such as Valletta, the general Mater Dei Hospital and the Cottonera area.
A Red Line has been proposed from Naxxar to Pembroke and then Sliema; a Blue line from Mater Dei Hospital to Cottonera; and a Green Line from Birkirkara to Valletta with the possibility of this being extended to Bugibba/Qawra. Line interchanges will also be possible.
This will require a load of underground excavations and in Malta, where one digs one will find something Phoenician, Punic, Roman or palaeo-Christian. The upshot is that excavations will be halted on many, many instances because of such finds and the process scheduled over the next five years will be delayed and delayed again.
Perhaps purposefully the northern area of Malta extending from Attard to Rabat and Mdina has been excluded because these areas are simply stacked with underground burial tombs and catacombs and it would not be possible to find a way through while avoiding all these finds.
Which all brings us to the latest excavation finds that continue to underline the difficulties of delving underground in Malta. Works are currently ongoing at Ghajn Rabat, the Rabat Water Conservation Centre, to determine whether yet another tomb has been discovered.
During the last six years 16 tombs have been found ranging from the Phoenician to the Roman period. In the tombs, besides bones, earthenware and glass jars were also discovered.
Archaeologists found indications of different burial rituals such as cremations and the skeleton of a boy in an elongated jar. Together with a corpse, the Romans also used to inter earthenware and glass implements in the belief of an eternally prolonged afterlife.
Another tomb consisted of an oval shaft which at the side leads to an oval room which was blocked by large stones. Archaeologists found the room stacked with the bones of animals.
In the southern region of Malta, new archaeological finds from the Neolithic era at Tas-Silġ in Marsaxlokk are throwing a new light on the Neolithic period in Malta and has substantially increased the size of the land utilised during the era.
The term “Neolithic”, meaning new stone, in Malta covers the period of between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago. This was a time when, mainly in the west Mediterranean region, humanity no longer depended for food on hunting and cropping wild vegetables but began to grow their own vegetables.
This in turn caused persons inhabiting the area to form communities and from these, villages were formed and civilisation saw its birth.
A final decision on the Metro has yet to be taken but if approved will certainly lead to considerable turmoil.
Over the months I have had published two eBooks promoting the names of Malta and Gozo, mainly articles I have been writing on a weekly basis since 2015 and called Malta Diary, on this site, b-c-ing-u.com
The first book, “The Maltese Islands and their People” shows aspects of the lives and stories of our small Mediterranean Islands.
The second book, “Of Malta and the Maltese”, are other aspects of the life and story of our small but full of heritage and history Islands.
Both the books are available on Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom, on Nook Book (eBook) Barnes & Noble and also Payhip.
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“The more you try the more you are rebuffed.”
A wistful remark made when a person’s good intentions are rudely dismissed or indifferently ignored.