Eight organisations have announced a national protest Xebbajtuna! Bidla fl-Ambjent u l-Ippjanar ISSA! demanding urgent environmental and planning reform on May 27.

It will start at the Triton Fountain outside Valletta at 10.30am.

Besides urging the public to participate, the organisations - Moviment Graffitti, Friends of the Earth Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Nature Trust Malta, Għawdix, BirdLife and Ramblers’ Association - are also inviting groups around Malta and Gozo, both formal and informal, to endorse the protest by sending an email on info@xebbajtuna.org or by filling in the online form on the website.

Groups can include non-governmental organisations as well as residents, students, workers and farmers: "all non-partisan groups whose aims are in line with the demands of the protest are invited to join," the organisers said. 

"We are living in a state of emergency which threatens our personal and environmental well-being due to the reckless rates of construction on our islands.

"No space is free from greed: tall and dreary blocks of flats in urban centres, commercial buildings, villas and swimming pools in the middle of the countryside, towers in congested areas, construction encroachment on the island of Gozo, and an assault on the natural reserve of Comino."

The organisations said the people of Malta and Gozo are bearing the grave consequences of environmental devastation.

Widespread environmental destruction is resulting in physical and mental health problems, frustrated children who have nowhere to roam and a growing desire among young people to leave the country.

"We are in this mess for one clear reason. Behind this wave of environmental destruction lies a web of politicians and developers who have created a system that serves the profit of the few instead of the common good," they said.

The organisations taking part in the protest will demand the following immediate actions:

1. To change planning policies - such as those allowing buildings on ODZ, the height and intensity of buildings, the height of hotels, and the scheduling of sites of historic interest and value - in order to stop the wave of construction that does not respect context, heritage, natural environment, farmers and residents;

2. To radically reform all institutions responsible for the environment, planning and lands, so that they start functioning in a serious and transparent manner and independently from politicians and businesses; and

3. To build an economic model that seeks a better quality of life for everyone instead of endless economic growth based on the profits of the few.

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