Times of Malta, 1st July 2008

Nature Trust (Malta) has urged Mepa to take a decision on proposals to upgrade the Marsaxlokk Salt Marsh Nature Reserve, an ecologically important site known as il-Magħluq, which it said is lying in a state of utter neglect. Mepa had asked Nature Trust not to carry out any works there until a management plan has been approved.

“In fact a plan was submitted some years ago, and for the last 18 months no response whatsoever has been received from Mepa in reaction to the proposals of NTM,” the NGO said.

The site, which is of high ecological and scientific importance, has been degrading ever since, it maintained. Dumping of rubbish, pollution, seeping of nitrates, vandalism, trampling and infestation of pests and alien species have become the order of the day.

It claimed alien plants growing unchecked at the site are destroying local vegetation, and the rat population has increased causing an additional health problem to the users of the bay.

Nature Trust feels that such lack of cooperation from Mepa is the sole factor contributing to further damage to this sensitive site, and is causing a lot of inconvenience to the residents and visitors.

“The people of the area have been extremely patient, but it is strongly felt that the time is now overdue for the joint grievances of the Xlukkajri and NTM to be finally addressed in a resolute manner by the authorities.

Mepa needs to show with concrete action that it is giving the south of Malta its due importance,” it said.