Fabian Demicoli

Use of HFOs in the new Power Station

 GRTU has this week written to the Prime Minister to express its disappointment that following tests with heavy fuel oil (HFO) carried out on the new power station, and a picture of the smoke emitted was presented to him personally during the meeting with the GRTU National Executive Council at the PN headquarters, MEPA has since extended permits for such tests till June 2013.  


GRTU stated that recently, in the period during which tests were being carried out, restaurant owners and other GRTU members in Marsaxlokk reported that they were approached by customers apologizing for having to leave the table early as they could not stand the ‘heavy burning plastic stench'.  Similar reports of burning tar or plastic stench came also from Marsascala, Paola, Siggiewi and central Malta up to even Sliema.

The smell is heavily affecting business in the area, especially the restaurant community of Marsaxlokk.

GRTU believes such testing by MEPA is unnecessary and one does not need a British University to tell us the obvious and that the Marsaxlokk waterfront and other towns and villages are being intoxicated. Anyone can see and smell the yellowish cloud coming out of the 4 new chimneys when the plant is run on HFO.

GRTU officials have monitored the cloud recently as it followed the air currents and diffused. On that particular day, the Marsaxlokk Harbour saw its normally blue skies turn yellow. The cloud then proceeded to Birzebbugia and Hal Far and it could be witnessed going out at sea in a circle and landing back on land in an area ranging from the three cities up to Sliema. It then diffused on various localities up to central Malta such as Birkirkara, Siggiewi, Zurrieq, Qrendi, Mqabba, Gudja, Tarxien, Zebbug, Qormi, Marsa and then out to sea again.

The effects are therefore evident and the Maltese population and business should no longer be made to suffer the effects of HFO, not even for testing. The result is unbearable. You do not have to be an expert to realise HFO is in no way the way forward. There are other fuels that can be utilised which have a much lower impact and we should not keep holding back on using them. If Malta has already spent its money on a supply of HFO we have to sell it or find alternative uses for it. If one is naïve enough to look only at the financial aspect, it would still not be feasible to use HFO as it going to cost us more in human illnesses, loss of work and cures.

GRTU requested a reply, one which explains Government's sensible plans as to the fuel the Power Station is to be run on from now on.

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