The new lighting system announced for Mosta Basilica will deliver three benefits simultaneously: energy efficiency, protection of the stonework and showcasing the building.

Switching from high-consumption flood lighting to modern LED will mean less energy waste. It’s a sensible measure that meets today’s green agenda.

A reduction in the damage to the stone structure of the building, caused by light pollution and heat, has to be welcome too. Not only do we owe it to future generations to protect the environment, but we should pass on heritage assets intact too. The Basilica may be a relatively young church by Maltese standards, dating from the mid-19th century, but with its stunning architecture and unsupported dome it is little wonder that it attracts so many visitors. The figure was getting close to a million in 2019.

The most visible benefit of this measure will be the aesthetics; the dome will look more glorious than ever. The new system is quite clever in that it will enable the intensity as well as the colour of the lights to be adjusted in tandem to the setting of the sun. This will achieve a novel scenographic atmosphere to delight the senses.

It’s a sensible measure that meets today’s green agenda

This project will cause no burden on taxpayers, since the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF) is in a position to invest, because of the country’s initiative offering residency that may lead to citizenship. This initiative is not happening in isolation. There are other projects that are being undertaken by either Komunità Malta, Residenza Malta or the NDSF. These include an investment in the restoration of the Historic Niche of St Paul in Rabat, an investment in Hospice Malta’s Paliative Centre in Santa Venera, an investment of €1.5 million in the upgrading and refurbishment of the Caritas facilities, an investment in community policing in Mellieħa, Valletta, Marsaxlokk, Fgura and several other localities, an investement in tablets to be used by users at Aġenzija Sapport in Sliema, and urban greening projects in Ħamrun, Qormi, Żabbar and Mosta.

The latter has been anounced this week, and people’s response to it has been very positive. An abandoned field, covering 4,000 square metres, will be given a new lease of life. The field, known as “ta’ Ċikku Fenech,” is government-owned land and contains some typical Maltese tree species, such as olives and cypress. Unfortunately, it is currently abandoned, uncultivated and inaccessible. The field will be transformed as part of a €4.5 million greening programme that includes projects in other localities.

It’s not simply a case of clearing away the overgrowth. The fragile ecosystem of the abandoned field will be treated with care. The natural landscape and typical Maltese stone will help urban life and green open space coexist in a positive fashion. The area will be transformed into a park for all the community to enjoy.

Establishing green spaces in urban areas is akin to breathing fresh air into our lungs. Some people will just stop for a breather in the middle of their busy days while others will find it a great place to take the children for a run around. These are facilities for residents to enjoy as they wish.

The pandemic made us all appreciate the need for open spaces, and it is important that these are close to where people live. Both the lighting up of our historic buildings and this green scheme is beneficial for both tourists and Maltese families, who now have an asset on their doorsteps.

A wider benefit will be increased civic pride. By elevating the importance of our heritage and landscape we all gain the impetus to take more care of our immediate environments, elevating our quality of life.

Daniel Camilleri, Communications Coordinator, Ministry Secretariat, MHSE

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