Water con­ser­va­tion ef­forts in Malta put un­der the spot­light in Brus­sels

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Two best prac­tices from Malta were put un­der the spot­light dur­ing an event held at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment thanks to the Ini­tia­tive of MEP Therese Co­mo­dini Cachia (EPP group) and MEP Miriam Dalli (S&D). The projects in­volved the Catch the Drop Cam­paign spear­headed by the HSBC Water pro­gramme and a Life+ project tar­get­ing busi­nesses, ho­tels and SMEs di­rected by the Malta Busi­ness Bureau (MBB). The event was opened by MEP Es­ter De Lange, Chair of the MEP Water Group

MEP Therese Co­mo­dini Cachia stated, “The HSBC Water Pro­gramme, Catch the Drop Cam­paign as well as the MBB project on use of grey water in ho­tels are both projects which de­serve Euro­pean recog­ni­tion. They are ex­cep­tional ini­tia­tives show­ing how pri­vate in­dus­try can work hand in hand with schools to pro­vide valu­able ed­u­ca­tion and how the in­dus­try can not only make a pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal con­tri­bu­tion but also gen­er­ate skills for green and new jobs.”

She thanked teach­ers and heads of schools for sup­port­ing stu­dent ini­tia­tives and for the ded­i­ca­tion they show in their work. She lauded the ini­tia­tive of MBB and the busi­ness sec­tor in Malta for their ef­forts to tackle the is­sue of water us­age and re­marked that fur­ther in­vest­ment was re­quired in de­vel­op­ing tech­nol­ogy that fa­cil­i­tates water us­age and con­ser­va­tion.

“The EU and mem­ber states should in­vest and pro­vide more op­por­tu­ni­ties for start-ups to de­velop tech­nolo­gies that fa­cil­i­tate water con­ser­va­tion and for the cre­ation of greener in­dus­tries and jobs.”

MEP Miriam Dalli em­pha­sised that water scarcity has a ma­jor im­pact on other en­vi­ron­men­tal at­tributes which can gravely ef­fect our planet. “The ab­strac­tion of water for in­dus­trial use has de­clined over the past 15 years. But this is not enough. We need to in­vest more in projects that can re­duce the use of water such as on-site re­cy­cling of waste­water, whilst pro­mot­ing in­no­va­tion such as ad­vanced cool­ing tech­nolo­gies that re­quire less water.” The so­lu­tion how­ever, stressed the MEP lies in a shift in at­ti­tude to­wards water con­ser­va­tion.

“That is why project like HSBC’s Catch the Drop and the Malta Busi­ness Bureau’s Life+ in­vest­ment are im­por­tant as they pro­mote in­no­va­tion both at an in­dus­try level, but also at a cul­tural level in or­der to both as­sist and in­spire new so­lu­tion’s to to­mor­rows prob­lems. More­over, these projects have also prompted the Gov­ern­ment to consider the introduction of grey water treat­ment sys­tems as part of its plans for the water sec­tor. Lis­ten­ing to the im­pres­sive ways both Maria Regina Col­lege Mosta and the Arch­bishop’s sem­i­nary man­aged to put to­gether easy, ac­ces­si­ble and in­no­va­tive ways to con­serve and pre­serve water was ex­tremely in­ter­est­ing. These stu­dents have some re­ally good so­lu­tions to to­day’s chal­lenges, and we need to do our ut­most to en­sure that they are heard.”

MBB CEO Joe Tanti said that “Sav­ings of around 1.4 bil­lion Eu­ros per an­num are pos­si­ble for the EU hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. The sav­ings could be achieved through the EU-in­dus­try-wide adop­tion of flow rate reg­u­la­tion and grey water treat­ment”. “Take up of these so­lu­tions will bring en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits, in­crease the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the EU’s hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try through re­duced costs, and cre­ate a new green in­dus­try and new green jobs for the sup­ply of equip­ment and ser­vices to the in­dus­try. This sup­ply in­dus­try would also have strong EU-ex­port po­ten­tial” con­tin­ued Mr Tanti.

Glenn Bugeja, Man­ager- Cor­po­rate Sus­tain­abil­ity Depart­ment, HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. said that Catch the Drop is the largest ever na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal and ed­u­ca­tional cam­paign of its kind in Malta with an aim to forge a blue­print for progress on sus­tain­abil­ity of water as a re­source. “Over the past three years, the cam­paign has taken its mes­sage to nearly 50,000 stu­dents, dozens of cor­po­rates and NGOs, and a num­ber of lo­cal coun­cils us­ing a range of out­reach ac­tiv­i­ties”. He re­marked that the pro­gramme’s po­ten­tial to be a model for other Euro­pean coun­tries has at­tracted the at­ten­tion of pol­i­cy­mak­ers at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment level.

Samira Ax­iak (stu­dent) and Fiona Vella Cian­gura (teacher) from Maria Regina Col­lege, Mosta Girls’ Se­condary School stated that “Maria Regina Col­lege Girls’ Se­condary School Mosta is very grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity the HSBC Water Pro­gramme - Catch the Drop cam­paign has given it by fund­ing a Rain­wa­ter In­fil­tra­tion Fa­cil­ity, which will help in partly re­plen­ish­ing the water ta­ble and re­duc­ing flood­ing. The School is also grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to share this project at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.”

Isaac Fenech (stu­dent) and Ed­ward Tagli­a­ferro (teacher) from the Arch­bishop’s Sem­i­nary Ra­bat, Malta stated, “We would like to whole heart­edly thank HSBC’s Catch the Drop cam­paign for giv­ing us con­stant fi­nan­cial and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port dur­ing the last four years in projects and ini­tia­tives of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment through the Ekoskola pro­gramme. The Bank’s sup­port en­riched the stu­dents’ ex­pe­ri­ences as their ideas could ma­te­ri­alise, ul­ti­mately lead­ing to shar­ing of good prac­tice at a Euro­pean level in Brus­sels in Septem­ber 2016.”

While in Brus­sels the del­e­ga­tion also held meet­ings with the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Water Group, and of­fi­cials from the Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Malta to the Euro­pean Union.

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