Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi announced the approval of €21.9 million in European funds for the Grand Harbour Clean Air Project at a press conference on Saturday.
The project will be implemented by Infrastructure Malta, with a total investment of €49.9 million.
It is expected to reduce air pollution caused by cruise liners and Ro-Ro vessels in the Grand Harbour by 90%. The Grand Harbour will be one of the first European ports to operate this technology, the Transport Ministry said in a statement.
Minister Ian Borg said that, “This project will be the second largest contribution to better air quality in our country after the decommissioning of the Marsa and Marsaxlokk power stations in 2017.
“Preliminary studies showed that Malta will have saved around €375 million in costs related to the consequences of this type of air pollution in 20 years’ time. Another holistic project that will contribute to health, quality of maritime infrastructure and the environmental and climate change goals, both nationally and on a European level.
“Our commitment remains to the quality of life and standard of living in our country, as well as the conservation of our heritage, including environmental heritage.”
Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi remarked that this project compliments the European Union's objectives, in which economic growth is incentivised provided that the impact on the environment is minimised.
He said that this investment in the Grand Harbour financed with €22 million from the European fund 'Connecting Europe Facility' will be of great benefit not solely for the environment, but even for the residents. These funds are direct funds over and above the financial package acquired for the coming seven years.
Parliamentary Secretary Azzopardi emphasised the importance that this project will serve as a model for the freeport authorities, so that they invest in a similar project which will be of benefit to the residents in Birżebbuġa and surrounding localities
This project, through infrastructural interventions, will allow cruise liners and Ro-Ro vessels to turn off their engines and use a clean energy source from the port itself. These facilities will be available first in Pinto Wharf, Deep Water Quay and Boiler Wharf, and will then be extended to Laboratory Wharf and Fuel Wharf (Ras Ħanżir). The first three quays are expected to have this facility by the end of 2023.