Land Reclamation in Malta

Property development in Malta is taking place at a rapid pace. Space in Malta is becoming restricted as more properties are being developed. As more people are coming to Malta, many ask whether we have sufficient space to accommodate increasing influxes of people. One of the solutions which may be implemented is what we call, land reclamation. 

So what is land reclamation exactly? It is the process of creating new land from oceans, seas, riverbeds or lake beds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill. 

It was recently reported in the media that some areas within Malta may be used for land reclamation. There are six in total so far, which include Mġarr Harbour in Gozo, Buġibba and St Paul’s Bay waterfront, Qalet Marku, Portomaso to Xgħajra, the spoilt ground area off Xgħajra and the Marsaxlokk harbour area.

As the numbers continue to grow, land reclamation is becoming an increasingly realistic option. Let us keep in mind that Malta’s expected population is expected to reach seven hundred thousand in the coming years. When considering that Malta is just three hundred and sixteen metres squared, seven hundred thousand inhabitants is a lot! This is backed by the fact that Malta is expecting an influx of fifteen thousand foreign workers annually. 

Whilst land reclamation is slowly becoming a more realistic option, it is met with resistance as well. People from NGO’s and those who advocate for the environment, argue that land reclamation may bring about detriment to Malta’s ecology and archaeological habitat. Whilst this may be true, there are cases of countries which have adopted land reclamation strategies whilst safeguarding the environment. Such an example would be Singapore. Having a density of over eight thousand people per square kilometre, the country holds over three hundred parks and four nature reserves. Almost forty percent of the country is covered by greenery.

It is also worth noting that land reclamation may be another solution in maintaining our current positive economic run, where we come up with creative solutions to meet the increasing demand for property and housing. With increasing population numbers, this may be a solution which should be implemented as soon as possible. If planned well, this may also minimally impact the environment, thus achieving desirable outcomes.

What is your view on the strategy for land reclamation? Is it a case where the government is adopting a long-term vision, or one which will destroy Malta’s character and environmental appeal? Let us know in the comments section below.

Illustration of cover image: Craig Stephens

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