It-toroq tas-Siġġiewi u l-arja ta madwarna m’għadhomx li kienu. Sa ftit ilu kont tieħu gost tmur xi mixja jew ġirja fit-toroq sbieħ tagħna fejn stajt tammira il-ġmiel tan-natura. Illum, il-ġirja tiegħi inbidlet f’waħda fejn iktar nara trukkijiet idaħħnu milli għasafar. Per eżempju, dan l-aħħar ikkalkulajt li bejn wieħed u ieħor, mit-triq ta’ bejn is- Siġġiewi u Għar Lapsi jgħadu madwar 100 trukk fis-siegħa. Bħala professjonist fil-kimika li nhobb lis-Siġġiewi, l-ambjent u n-natura, ma nistax nara dan kollhu madwari u nibqa sieket. Jekk ittuni l-opportunita`, nixtieq li f’isimkom nagħmel talba formali lill-entitajiet biex urġentament isiru studju li jikkwantifika id-danni li qed insofru u biex jgħinuna nsibu meżżi biex inwaqqfu din il-ħsara abjentali li qed toqtolna bil-mod il-mod.
Siġġiewi and its rural roads are no longer what they used to be. When I was a university student, I used to cherish that half an hour jog around Siġġiewi. I used to feel refreshed. Alas, this simple pleasure is slowly been taken away from me. Instead of feeling ‘free’, I now have to jostle my way through trucks passing next to me leaving behind them the characteristic black smoke from exhaust pipes as the heavy vehicles overloaded with construction material commute between construction locations and quarries or dumping sites in Siġġiewi.
We Siġġiewi residents are increasingly concerned about the fact that our environment is being very adversely affected through these emissions. This problem is exacerbated by the typical age of such vehicles, the heavy loads they carry and the geography of our rural sites: Our rural roads leading to our quarries / dumping sites are hilly and not designed for heavy traffic. Preliminary observational data I gathered in an attempt to quantify the density of such traffic in the rural roads around Siġġiewi is indeed very worrying: It may be estimated that on a typical working day, some Siġġiewi rural roads are at present typically carrying thousands of such vehicles daily. For example, preliminary data I gathered in May 2019 suggests that more than a hundred heavy commercial trucks per hour pass from the vicinity of Tal-Providenza church on the road leading from Siġġiewi to Għar Lapsi. Given that such heavy vehicular traffic is undoubtedly having an ill effect on both the location and the private individuals who make use of such roads on a daily basis for various reasons, it is becoming urgent that measures are taken so as to ensure that pollution from such vehicles is curtailed.
As a chemist by profession, and an environmentalist at heart, I cannot let this continue and will be putting my efforts to coordinate initiatives and studies that will not only quantify this problem, but also eventually bring an end to it.
PS: Just in case you were wondering, NO, you will not be receiving glossy papers from me … I opted to campaign through much greener options of electronic communications and a simple message, black on white, which explains what I will focus on. Hope you understand and support me.