Harsien Patrimonju Mosti



HPM is extremely concerned about a large quantity of industrial oil having spilled into Wied il-Ghasel over the past days due to a leaking drum in an adjacent yard.

This is not the first time such spills have occurred. In April 2010, sewage pumps near Wied il-Lunzjata, Gozo, failed due to an electricity shortage. An estimated 400 litres of  sewage coated with illegally dumped oil and related liquid wastes, overflowed into the valley.

Irrespective of whether spills are a result of a poor infrastructure, intentional vandalism, negligence, illegal dumping, or a generic lack of standards and/or effective enforcement, further damage has been made to the valley eco-system.

Wied il-Ghasel is a world protected site, one of 155 in the Maltese Islands. Despite being a world recognised site, HPM feels that more awareness and attention need to be afforded to this beautiful valley, in order to protect its threatened, delicate ecological assets.  This applies to both public as well as state.

For many years, illegal dumping has been rife in the entire valley. Insensitive planning and illegal structures have also taken their toll. The establishment of an industrial zone on the upper garigue plain and many large fields that once existed there is a huge eyesore.

A ruined, ugly landscape now graces what was one of Mosta's most beautiful areas, with several noxious substances including spray thinner vapour and other such residues constantly blowing into the valley. This not to mention the relative noise pollution.

Despite this area also constituting the valley ridge, the industrial zone has recently been allowed to expand even further, with new high rise concrete structures now visible and works still in progress.

The quarries in the area close to where the oil was found, and expanding industry nearby, have also had their own deleterious impact on the valley, both aesthetically as well as from ecological and environmental aspects.

The heart of the valley too now is suffering irreversible damage due to an approved massive development, which despite still being under appeal with the Planning Revisions Board, is being torn up and smashed into oblivion.

Throughout the valley, several of the old rubble walls, including important soil-retaining walls and other rural structures are falling to rot. Many of these are already gone for good.

On a positive note, HPM commends the prompt action taken by both the police and the other civil authorities involved in removing the oil and cleaning the affected areas.

HPM would also like to thank Marcus Camilleri for raising immediate awareness and for alerting the authorities at once. More are encouraged to follow this man's example and demonstration of civil and moral responsibility!

This event proves what is already known, but perhaps, not so properly understood. Enforced buffer zones in sensitive and natural areas are required. No permits for a yard containing industrial equipment and such materials should ever have been granted in such an area.

The formerly mentioned industrial zone, with its new encroachments, shows that little has and is being learned from mistakes of the past.

Illegal dumping in all its forms as well as stakeholder non-conformity with standards and regulations are both major issues in Malta. It is hoped that the perpetrators are apprehended and that more effective monitoring and enforcement applied, particularly in such sensitive areas.

The authorities should also study and implement safeguards to prevent further spills and other damages due to the potential failing of sewage pumps, from construction sites, or other non-rural industries in our countryside.


This press release was forwarded to the media following the reports published on:




Our fears have been fully corroborated by environmental experts who visited the site. Examine the facts for yourselves, and also in light of our press release above: