Infrastructure Malta is completing the planting of over 2,200 indigenous trees and shrubs in a new grove in Bengħajsa, Birżebbuġa.
This new green lung in southern Malta forms part of Infrastructure Malta’s long-term environmental commitment to plant thousands of trees in different rural and urban public spaces. After planting 8,719 trees in over 40 locations in 2019, this year it has already planted 4,130 new trees and some 3,000 shrubs in several other locations. Following a recent public call for location suggestions, Infrastructure Malta is working to add many more new trees and shrubs in several localities by the end of the year.
The new grove in Benghajsa was formed on a 15,000-metre-squared area of disturbed land, more than twice the size of a football ground, next to the Malta Freeport. Infrastructure Malta’s contractors planted over 300 aleppo pine trees, 350 olive trees, 260 holm oak trees, 220 sandaric gum trees (gharghar), Malta’s national tree, and another 12 species of trees and shrubs such as judas trees, cypresses, carob trees, pomegranate trees, bay laurel and white mulberry trees (cawsli).
Infrastructure Malta is also installing an irrigation system to facilitate the regular watering of these trees. It will continue taking care of the grove for several years, until it is fully established and can be opened to the public.
The Bengħajsa grove will eventually form part of a larger environmental complex that the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection is gradually developing in adjacent lands. This park will include pathways, benches, picnic areas, camping grounds and other outdoor wellbeing and leisure facilities. The Ministry is planting more trees in other areas of this complex as well.
Infrastructure Malta is supporting the Ministry with several works required to develop the park. During the last few months, the agency formed the tree planting areas by depositing and sifting 55,000 tonnes of soil. The agency used soil it had recovered from several ongoing or recently-completed road projects. As part of its environmental commitment, Infrastructure Malta keeps all soil excavated during its infrastructural projects so that it can reuse it for other afforestation and landscaping projects. It is currently also providing soil for the development of the new Malta National Park, at Ta’ Qali.
Ing. Fredrick Azzopardi, Infrastructure Malta’s Chief Executive Officer explained that through this collaboration between Infrastructure Malta and the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection, within a few years, thousands of families will be able to enjoy this new green area in the south of Malta, on land previously earmarked for industrial use. “Whilst we work to achieve our national objective to develop better quality, sustainable land and sea transport infrastructure, we’re also allocating a substantial share of Infrastructure Malta’s resources to environmental investments such as this new grove in Benghajsa, the Msida Valley Grove completed earlier this year and the upcoming €49.9 million Grand Harbour Clean Air Project. We look forward to working with other government entities, local councils and non-governmental organisations for cleaner air and for many more green spaces in Malta and Gozo.”
Individuals or organisations who would like to suggest public spaces where Infrastructure Malta can plant more trees are encouraged to send their ideas by email on email@example.com.