Nature Trust (Malta) said in a statement today that it “has welcomed the recommendation by MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate that the proposed mega-tourism development for Hondoq ir-Rummien Bay should be refused.”
“Among other things, the directorate referred to a particular report, which it said was biased, and was also critical of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).”
Nature Trust (Malta) president Vincent Attard said, “The time has come for MEPA to have certified EIA professionals, in recognition of those who have always given a true picture of the environmental situation of the sites under survey. In parallel, MEPA should have a black list of so-called experts who try suiting developers through the EIAs they draw up.”
The Environment Protection Directorate said the area should be kept “free from even small-scale development.” The NGO now hopes that good sense will prevail, as has been happening recently with proposed projects such as that of Ramla l-Hamra, which was refused.
“The Environment Protection Directorate’s recommendation is extremely important, as Malta cannot afford more unsustainable development, using economic growth as an excuse. An island like Gozo, which is very rich in ecological areas, should focus more on specific types of tourism such eco-tourism and agri-tourism.
Nature Trust feels that places like Hondoq ir-Rummien should be rehabilitated and conserved in a way that the bay and the surrounding area could be promoted among tourists. Dwejra and Ta’ Cenc are similar ecologically rich areas that are also important from an aesthetic point of view and that are popular among tourists.
The Hondoq area is also rich in marine ecology, as it has healthy posidonia meadows that could attract diving and snorkelling tourism,” Mr Attard concluded.