Controversial Nadur cemetery (letters) -
Dr Klaus Vella Bardon, B.Ch.D., and Dr Carmel Galea Bonavia, B.Ch.D., Balzan.

Gozo is continually in the news due to the imminent threats to its environmental integrity.

However, the prospective building of a 600-grave cemetery overlooking Ramla seems to be given less importance. Even if we overlook the defacement of the pristine garigue landscape and the destruction of its fauna and flora, which in itself is no small matter, there is a profoundly more serious problem at stake.

This is the threat to the livelihood of several hundred farmers who have cultivated this land for countless generations through irrigation with water from natural springs in the area.

It is incredible that the Church, which should be at the forefront defending the environment, is not only neutral in such a case but is actually promoting this unacceptable 'development'.

This stance is diametrically opposed to its correct stand on behalf of the Maltese farmers when it defended their rightful interests in standing up to the proposed golf course at Verdala.

Are Gozitan farmers inferior to Maltese farmers? Has the respected Church-appointed Commission on the Environment no brief to report on what is going on in Gozo? If so, why?

This is doubly hurtful, when one considers that such development goes against the principles and core values of the Gospel. One need only follow the unequivocal statements of Pope Benedict XVI last week in Loreto, when he appealed for the defence of our environmental heritage, mentioning specifically the grave problem of the availability of water supplies.

"This year," the Holy Father observed, "attention is focused above all on water, a most precious good that, if it is not shared in a fair and peaceful way, will unfortunately become a cause for significant tensions and bitter conflicts."

The Pope added that "A decisive 'yes' to the protection of creation is necessary and a firm commitment to reverse those tendencies that run the risk of bringing about situations of unstoppable degradation.

Locally, in the interests of its professed teachings, we expect the Church to reconsider its position on the Nadur cemetery and withdraw this application forthwith.
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09 Sep 2007 by