A group of local architects and civil engineers have proposed planting more than 40,000 indigenous trees in Inwadar national park in the south of Malta, as part of a massive afforestation pitch they hope could be replicated elsewhere. 

The proposal, which they have dubbed ‘Help Malta breathe’, would see the mass of trees planted on 315,000 square metres of land stretching between Żonqor Point in Marsascala and Xgħajra. 

Inwadar was designated a national park in 2016 but much of it is arid. Last June, the government celebrated the planting of 200 trees there and said that the park now featured around 1,000 trees. 

The ‘Help Malta Breathe’ project would increase that number forty-fold. Trees could be irrigated using water from the nearby Ta’ Barkat sewage treatment plant, they are proposing. 

The architects and architectural firms launched a video of their proposal on Wednesday. The video includes drone footage of the current site as well as a render of what that site would look like in 20 years’ time, should the afforestation proposal be followed through. 

The video pitch for the afforestation proposal.

“We appreciate that there currently seems to be an effort to plant trees around Malta and Gozo, however, we strongly feel that unless something aggressive is done as soon as possible, our island will become a desert by the time our children are adults,” Nicholas Mallia, partner at Periti Studio, said.

He added: “We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to take action now, because as time passes it will get harder and harder to address the problem.” 

Afforestation is not a new concept for the Maltese Islands, the architecture firms noted, with Miżieb – Malta’s largest woodland area – and Buskett - both the results of afforestation projects, one in the 1960s and the other by the Knights of St John. 

Before and after images of the area proposed for afforestation.Before and after images of the area proposed for afforestation.

The Inwadar site is the first of a number of areas the architects have earmarked for such proposals, with other sites in Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Naxxar, San Ġwann, Mellieħa and Gozo also being eyed for similar proposals. 

Architects and firms backing the proposal:

  1. Periti Studio
  2. 3DM Architecture
  3. Model Architecture
  4. Mizzi Studio
  5. CVC Architecture
  6. DPRO Studio
  7. Domos Design & Management
  8. Raniolo & Associates
  9. IB Projects
  10. Unfold Architects
  11. ME Architects
  12. Atelier Maison
  13. JC Associates
  14. DHI Periti
  15. Atelier 424
  16. Dimech Architectural Design
  17. Hexagon Inc
  18. Philip Farrugia
  19. Phillip Micallef
  20. Etienne Fenech
  21. Stephen Bonnici
  22. Pierre Poulton
  23. Neville Agius
  24. Bernard Formosa

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