Protesters decry what they they describe as destruction of trees through Central Link project – Infrastructure Ministry reacts
Non-governmental organisations and residents took part in a symbolic protest in Attard against what they described as the destruction of trees because of the Central Link project. The demonstrators formed a chain along the sides of the road towards Rabat, and some demonstrators even tied themselves to trees. In a reaction, the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects said it would continue to communicate the facts about the Central Link, including that it was not true the trees on this road will be laid waste because of this project.
Some one thousand persons responded to an appeal by 19-year-old student Sasha Vella, who called for a demonstration ‘Għas-Siġar Tagħna’ (For our Trees), in protest against the removal of trees to make way for the Central Link project.
The demonstrators carried placards, some of which stated “Inqas siġar, iktar Asthma” (Less trees, more asthma), “Ipproteġu s-siġar – ipproteġu ħajjtina” (Protect the trees – protect our lives), and “L-Ambjent fuq ir-Regħba” (Environment over Greed). The demonstrators formed a chain on both sides of the arterial road leading to Rabat, with some of them tying themselves to trees in a symbolic gesture. They later blocked the road and sang pro-environment songs, accompanied by the beating of drums.
Sasha Vella stated that quality of life is dependent on the environment, adding that the only issue uniting those taking part in the activity is the hope for a better environment, and appealed for a more sustainable infrastructure.
“The alternative is to see how we can solve the traffic problem in the long term, as a project like this is short term. Within a few months the project would not have achieved its aim, because with the number of vehicles being added on the roads every day, widening the roads would not be a long term solution.”
The demonstrators turned up in cars, on motorcycles, bicycles and even on foot.
Meanwhile, the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects declared in a statement that it would continue to communicate the facts about the Central Link project, insisting it was not true the trees along this road would be laid waste because of the project. The statement adds that 285 trees will be added to this arterial road because of the project, further stating that Government takes note of different views about every type of infrastructural project. The Ministry added that at the same time it believes decisions should be taken in the national interest in order to improve the quality of life even of residents, because this project will result in a smoother flow of traffic and less pollution as a result.
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