After 21 days’ waiting, and a personal appeal to the Commissioner, no less, the police corps answered an email by Newsbook.com.mt about illegal dumping of construction waste at Ta’ Qali on November 16. The one sentence statement of the police simply stated that they “didn’t receive any reports, regarding the below mentioned area, on that particular day and time.” The area referred to is that adjecent to the abandoned factory of Southern Concrete Ltd.
This cryptic answer raises serious questions about the efficiency of the police and their willingness to take effective action against the massive illegal dumping at Ta’ Qali. This illegal activity has been going on for months. A very large area roughly 10,000 sq. m equivalent to 10 tumoli of land, has been covered by construction waste. The dumping extended also to large parts of what was a very big factory: Southern Concrete Ltd. The factory itself is 3,400 sq m and much of it is buried half-full.
The facts belie the police
On Friday 16th November, at approximately 23.30h, a police car was observed near a truck normally used for construction. The location was at Ta’ Qali in the immediate vicinity of the Aviation Museum and at the back entrance of the works being carried out in the Crafts Village.
Newsbook.com.mt reported this story on December 4, 2018. Two persons observed the driver of the truck talking to occupants of the police car. Another source gave more information which was published on December 7, 2018.
In that report Newsbook.com.mt a female police officer spoke to the truck driver mentioned in our first report. When asked to state his business, the driver answered “I am just parking”. The official was sceptical. “Parking at this hour and driving a truck full of construction waste?”, was the reaction. The driver insisted that he just wanted to park. The police accompanied him for some time and when they left, the truck driver gave the alarm and the operation was aborted before midnight.
The operation was abandoned because of the police presence. But a lot of illegal dumping had already taken place. Just before 10.00p.m. on November 16 one bulldozer, three heavy duty enormous construction trucks followed and later on a white-ish pick-up-like vehicle approaced the area through the road leading to the Centenary Stadium, turning left after the bus stop ‘Venture’.
The trucks were unloading their consignment and the bulldozer was levelling everything near the abanonded factory.
Newsbook.com.mt flagged the abuse with the Environment Minister Josè Herrera who said that the illegal dumping in Tà Qali is not the Government’s fault, but the blame should be put on the people who produced the waste. This means that manufacturers should pay for the cost of recycling and disposal of any waste they may produce.
Do the police ignore public reports of illegalities?
The Planning Authority following the report on Newsbook.com.mt took action and and sealed off the premises pending further action which the authority is empowered to take.
The police, on the other hand, presented by two reports detailing everything that happened on that night including information about:
- the conversation between a police official and a truck driver involved in the dumpting;
- The provenence of the material dumped at Ta’ Qali; and
- the companies that owned the heavy duty trucks involved in the operation
The police opted to play the role of the proverbial monkeys that see nothing, hear nothing and just garble one sentence after 21 days of inactivity.
Honest citizens cannot but ask the reason of this inactivity.