“Environmental Impact Assessment Should Carry As Much Weight as Economic Feasibility Study”- University Students

The recent launch of ‘Front Favur il-Mina’ has brought to light the concern of University students, particularly Gozitans, who feel the need for such a tunnel project to be carried out. Whilst most Gozitan students are in favour of having the tunnel for improved transportation between the two islands, other students within the University of Malta feel that proper environmental considerations should be taken into account.

Even though such a tunnel would improve connectivity between the islands, reduce travelling time, and promote economic growth, several negative impacts would result in the long-term. Gozo would slowly start to lose its rural identity; there could be increased traffic on the roads, and a greater influx of people visiting the island thus causing more pressure upon its environment.

environmental impact assessment

Option 4 being the most preferred option (From Ic-Cumnija  in Mellieha to Ta’ Xhajma  in Nadur)

Youth For The Environment stresses the importance of conducting a full Environmental Impact Assessment[1] to analyse the potential consequences the tunnel would have upon the environment. Moreover, the constant emphasis of the economic benefits over the environmental aspect means that the environment is constantly given secondary importance and such a concept needs to be changed if the country is to truly achieve sustainable growth and development. Alternative solutions to the tunnel should be considered, for instance the use of a fast ferry system between Gozo and the Grand Harbour.

Even though this project may seem viable as a long-term solution from a socio-economic standpoint, it may exert certain irreversible environmental pressures in certain Gozitan areas which would greatly impact its natural and pristine environment.

environmental impact assessment

A visual representation of the proposed tunnel.

[1] The recently proposed sub-seabed tunnel between Malta and Gozo (which is estimated to be 11km long and 100m below the seabed) resulted to be a more economically and environmentally sensible option than the bridge. An economic feasibility study done by the economist Dr. Gordon Cordina upon this project has rendered it as cost-effective, however the potential environmental impacts were not fully addressed. Find out more here.