Pollution levels if living near to Gzira?

I was considering taking up employment in Malta, working around Gzira, and hopefully living close enough that I could commute by bicycle (I've been able to cycle around Sliema no problems when I visited.. certainly safer than cycling in Dublin!).

I then spotted this thread: http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=244760
which seems to suggest the air pollution is pretty bad.

Not to mention articles like this: https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/v … ope.660531

When I visited Malta in November I didn't notice any particular bad pollution while cycling around, but it's certainly possible that it's pollution you don't "see" per se.

The aim of working in Malta would be to take advantage of the outdoor lifestyle, so I'd be swimming/cycling/scuba-diving often, but I certainly wouldn't want to be putting carcinogens in my system, so is there a generally "clean" area to live within say 8km of Gzira that I could commute from by bike?

Of course you can use the bicycle in Malta. Even in Gzira. Is it safe? Is it healthy? This depends mainly on the season. And where you ride.  :unsure

November for sure was much much better than it will be during summer. And riding a bicycle during rush hours is not only bad because of air pollution, it can be also quite dangerous getting knocked down.  :huh:

In summer, especially with high temperatures and no wind, you will become very "tired" from the toxic car emissions and the heat. Now, in winter, you can use the promenade with your bike. But in summer there are often too many pedestrians around ... and - strictly speaking - it's not allowed to ride with a bicycle on the promenade when you are older than 12 years. It's the law - but in Malta, nobody cares about this either.

Very interesting fact is, that Malta - although still considered as a country with a relaxed and outdoor lifestyle, sees a dramatic increase of certain forms of cancer, such as breast cancer and pancreatic cancer. Reasons might be unhealthy nutrition, stress and air pollution - but this is not yet officially veryfied. Malta also has a very high rate of people with kidney stones. They blame the quality of water, but also here no official reseach data existing.  :/

If you choose a nice and quiet location, avoid stress as much as possible and try to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, Malta can be a very nice location to live a good and long life.
Living in Gzira and working in Sliema sounds like the usual iGaming-Setup - and this is for sure not the best environment for your health.  :lol:

Right, so I'm still not clear. Whereabouts would you suggest someone lives who is WORKING in Gzira (not living), but is within 8km of Gzira, that has low air pollution.

And despite all the warnings about "terrible conditions for cycling", I found cycling around Malta to be far safer than what I'm used to in Dublin where taxis or double-decker busses literally go out of their way to try to knock you down.

I cycled every day for 10 days in November, all the way from St Juliens to Tarxien and everywhere between and never once had a close call, even during rush hour.

Anyway this is besides the point ... please clarify areas with low pollution where you can live that are within cycling distance (8km) of Gzira. Thanks!

StimpsonJ :

Right, so I'm still not clear. Whereabouts would you suggest someone lives who is WORKING in Gzira (not living), but is within 8km of Gzira, that has low air pollution.

...

Anyway this is besides the point ... please clarify areas with low pollution where you can live that are within cycling distance (8km) of Gzira. Thanks!

You do realise on the other side of the screen are *people*? people who are kindly using their spare time to answer your questions? So why don't you tone down the entitled attitude a bit.

Try a map, look for green areas around.  We are happy in Siggiewi, not a lot of noise or pollution. Perhaps a bit over 8km though

volcane :
StimpsonJ :

Right, so I'm still not clear. Whereabouts would you suggest someone lives who is WORKING in Gzira (not living), but is within 8km of Gzira, that has low air pollution.

...

Anyway this is besides the point ... please clarify areas with low pollution where you can live that are within cycling distance (8km) of Gzira. Thanks!

You do realise on the other side of the screen are *people*? people who are kindly using their spare time to answer your questions? So why don't you tone down the entitled attitude a bit.

Try a map, look for green areas around.  We are happy in Siggiewi, not a lot of noise or pollution. Perhaps a bit over 8km though

The post wasn't supposed to sound "entitled", I was somewhat frustrated that the response didn't answer the question in any way about whereabouts to live, beyond talking about cycling which I now regret having mentioned. I was simply saying the living location had to be within 8km of Gzira and the cycling distance was the reason.

Siggiewi does seem a fair distance away. 8km is the absolute max distance I'd want to commute allowing for the high temperatures in summer.

Would St Julian's be smoggy in summer, or anywhere around the east coast that's pollution free that's 8km max from Gzira?

You mentioned a map, do you have a link to one? Thanks

The only way to be sure of finding the right place to live for 'you' is to move here and find out, rent short term and look around, then decide where will be good for you. Other people can not decide for you!
Pollution is not easy to escape but then you are moving to one of the most densely populated countries in the world!

Ray

The thing is, it seemed perfectly pollution-free when I was there in November and staying in Sliema, so I was rather taken aback when I read that Malta had the "4th highest pollution via particles in the air in Europe".

Is it just summer that you notice the pollution, as matm911 mentioned?

Is it as bad as London or Paris where after a day in the city you have a shower and all the black soot washes out of your hair?

Obviously I could live further out from the city and commute by bus and car, but that's not really the lifestyle I'd be looking for, as the aim is to be able to cycle to work but also live somewhere relatively smog free year-round.

If that's not possible on that part of the island then that would be good to know as well, thanks.

Incidentally I found this: http://aqicn.org/map/malta/#@g/35.9123/14.442/12z

Will be interesting to see what the figures are in the morning of Monday and base my decision on whether to move on that.

The pollution levels were high this weekend because of low pressure and sand from the south. It produced a barrier where nothing could leave. It was very noticeable with the lack of visibility.

You need to remember, that Malta is the most densely populated area in the EU and just looking at an aerial view of the island, you can see that Sliema, Gzira etc is where the majority live. There is around 430,000 people on the island, with 4 million extra in the 3 summer months mostly staying in that area or St. Paul's Bay. This has a huge increase in traffic which brings Malta to standstills throughout the day.

Road vehicles are not well maintained, especially lorries, which chuck out black smoke. As for washing soot out of your hair. I worked in timeshare (many moons ago,) and yes, being out on the road for a morning meant I was black from soot. It would get grimed in and really quite disgusting!

As to where to live, you can certainly live further out and escape the bulk of pollution and still not be that far away from Sliema. As for cycling, it's dangerous and polluted at certain hours. Driving is a nightmare for parking and the buses are packed in summer so pick the lessor of the evils!

I wish you luck in your venture.

Interesting, so if you are on the beach around St Julian's/Sliema during the summer months it's entirely possible you are breathing in fumes?

The plan would be that I would be moving there to
a) cycle to work
b) swim in the sea near to where I live as often as possible

I won't be getting a car, nor waiting for bus transport to take me to a beach as I want to go on the spur of the moment, so both activities will need to be near enough to where I live (which will be 8km max from Gzira)

If it's not possible to sit on St George's Bay beach (for example) in a fume-free zone, I might need to rethink the Malta move :/

My personal opinion is that you will find something where it's not so polluted to live. Your journey will contain car fumes all year round and the summer months will be worse and on top of that, frustrated drivers in the heat doing stupid moves in the car putting you in danger but you'll learn to (hopefully) preempt their moves but at the end of the day, it will only be 15-20 mins of cycling.

You will find yourself cycling to the sea and swimming off the rocks, of which there are plenty of places and are not polluted by cars, (pollution in the sea is a different matter!)

You are use to bigger cities and Malta is the same size if not smaller than Dublin/Paris/London. the distances you are talking about are much smaller from a to b.

I hope this helps.

If you want to live in a clean country ..... look elsewhere. Period.

lambada :

If you want to live in a clean country ..... look elsewhere. Period.

Yeah? I'd mainly be concerned if the sea wasn't clean to swim in. Are there regular pollution issues in the sea around the area I'm discussing?

The sea is generally clean but jellyfish invasions are common.

Apart from the fish farm slime, the dumping of building waste and the odd sewerage leaks!

How often do you get jellyfish invasions? Is it just around the east coast?

Jellyfish invade the island indiscriminately. Can be just an odd day here and there or throughout most of the summer. You also ought to keep in mind that there are only 3-4 months in the year when both the air and the sea temperature are warm enough to allow for comfortable swimming unless one wears some kind of wetsuit. Far too many expats come here harbouring a fantasy that they will swim all year round. From those 3-4 months, you need to deduct the many days on which the water would be too rough for swimming. Sliema is mostly open sea, not sheltered bays/beaches.

lambada :

Jellyfish invade the island indiscriminately. Can be just an odd day here and there or throughout most of the summer. You also ought to keep in mind that there are only 3-4 months in the year when both the air and the sea temperature are warm enough to allow for comfortable swimming unless one wears some kind of wetsuit. Far too many expats come here harbouring a fantasy that they will swim all year round. From those 3-4 months, you need to deduct the many days on which the water would be too rough for swimming. Sliema is mostly open sea, not sheltered bays/beaches.

hmm I was swimming in late November with no problems with just shorts on. Probably because I kite surf in Ireland I'm used to somewhat chilly water.

I did notice I was the only one swimming @ St Julian's so perhaps the locals thought I was crazy :)

I've also lived in Dubai so used to extremely hot water too, so I think I'm covered there for year-round swimming.

Jelly fish might be a problem, but if they are only occasional it's not too much of a problem. At least there are no sharks to worry about.

lambada :

Jellyfish invade the island indiscriminately. Can be just an odd day here and there or throughout most of the summer. You also ought to keep in mind that there are only 3-4 months in the year when both the air and the sea temperature are warm enough to allow for comfortable swimming unless one wears some kind of wetsuit. Far too many expats come here harbouring a fantasy that they will swim all year round. From those 3-4 months, you need to deduct the many days on which the water would be too rough for swimming. Sliema is mostly open sea, not sheltered bays/beaches.

A lot of people swim for more then three to four months, may be it’s because you are Maltese and not an expat  who are used to cooler waters.

StimpsonJ :

At least there are no sharks to worry about.

The only sharks you need to worry about live on land. They tend to have two arms and two legs :)

Sorry I can't help with a suggestion for a place to live, either... as Ray said further up, the only way to find a place that suits you is to come look for yourself...

Your posts remind me a bit of an ex-member of this site who attempted to move to Malta from Scotland about 2 years ago... she returned after less than 2 months because she - a bit like you - was a bit stubborn in that she just didn't want to accept that Malta is "different"...

I'm referring, for example, to you saying things like "hmm I was swimming in late November with no problems with just shorts on." or "The thing is, it seemed perfectly pollution-free when I was there in November and staying in Sliema"...

Was this one visit in November your only visit? Because November is really not typical in that 1) most of the tourists have gone, so it's a lot less crowded, but 2) the sea is usually still warm, and the weather can be good.

BUT it's a TOTALLY DIFFERENT story in summer (a lot of pollution because of all the traffic, combined with no rain for months in a row, means the air quality is not too great), and I doubt if in winter you'd really go swimming (I've seenm some Russians swim in January and February, but for most people it'd be too cold, I guess...)

I must say, however, that in my opinion you can swim for more than 3-4 months... personally, I've been swimming as early as April/May (on nice, sunny days without any wind), and as late as November. Friends of mine told me it can be OK in December, sometimes...

As far as pollution in the water is concerned... that's a different story:

https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/v … hed.621448


And your question "Interesting, so if you are on the beach around St Julian's/Sliema during the summer months it's entirely possible you are breathing in fumes?" really made me laugh...

I really think you need to visit in the summer before you take any final decisions! Your expectations might not be too realistic...

BTW, I just found the blog by the ex-expat I mentioned above (the one from Scotland):

   https://ourmaltamove.wordpress.com/

I really wholeheartedly advise you to check it out...

About pollution, she writes:

"Breathing in fumes and dust and pollution all day long – I needed an asthma inhaler when i got back for the first time in about 15 years and I also had major sinus problems for months afterwards."

bernie_iris_fabian_david :

Sorry I can't help with a suggestion for a place to live, either... as Ray said further up, the only way to find a place that suits you is to come look for yourself...

Your posts remind me a bit of an ex-member of this site who attempted to move to Malta from Scotland about 2 years ago... she returned after less than 2 months because she - a bit like you - was a bit stubborn in that she just didn't want to accept that Malta is "different"...

Thanks for this. I don't think "stubborn" is the right word here, I'm always willing to adapt to a local country in terms of the way the system works, or people behave. I've travelled the world extensively for over 30 years (starting when I moved to Saudi when I was 6) so have a high tolerance for things being done differently.

The area I draw the line though is living in smog. My experience in November led me to believe that living Malta was perfectly fine in this respect, but you are right it may just have been pure luck that my visit coincided with fantastic weather/air quality. Sure I encountered some old trucks as you would anywhere while I was on the road, but when I was walking along the promenade or sitting on the beach the air quality was perfectly fine.

For example, I've been to Beijing and Mexico City and wouldn't fancy living in either of those cities as the air quality wasn't great. Fine for a visit but not a long-term stay.

What I'm currently in the process of evaluating is: is there a place in Europe where:

- You can sit outside in sunny weather
- You can find work in IT easily at pretty decent salaries
- English is the dominant language (for ease of working environment)
- Everything is close enough to where you work/live so that I can cycle to work
- I can swim as often as possible in the sea
- Not excessively expensive to live in

Of course I can go to the US or Australia, but I wanted to be within a short flight of my home country (for various reasons) and it looked like Malta was the best choice. Gibraltar is too small and Cyprus/Greece are too far away for short flights home.

So Malta checked all the flags but then I spotted a few news articles about the pollution and smog (which I wasn't initially aware of) and that then conflicts with:

- You can sit outside in sunny weather
- Everything is close enough to where you work/live so that I can cycle to work
- I can swim as often as possible in the sea

which were pretty important requirements.

You might be right and I should give it a shot anyway in April and see how I get on, and perhaps when it comes to June it won't be as bad as it sounds here in this thread :)

We have been here five years and have not found it anywhere as bad as some people mention, this whole subject has been discussed for too long now, just come and see for yourself.  The person from Scotland that went back home shortly after coming here never gave it a chance, she came in August the busiest and hottest month and complained.

Have you looked at the IT salaries here? It's pretty low - but as far as your criteria go I imagine here would be on par with the very few other options you have that matches all those.

volcane :

Have you looked at the IT salaries here? It's pretty low - but as far as your criteria go I imagine here would be on par with the very few other options you have that matches all those.

They max out around 60K which is fine as

a) I won't be having to spend 5K per annum on sun holidays
b) the tax brings it up to around equivalent of 65K here which I consider good
c) cost of living is cheaper so end up saving another 5K

So all in all it comes to around 70/75K/annum equivalent which I would be more than happy with :)


Of course if I don't find a job with a decent salary then I won't go over, but I'll only know after interviewing at a few places.

60k....that would be extraordinarily high and probably just lies that recruiters tell you in ads

you'll discover that a small country == more traveling elsewhere

cost of living is actually not that much cheaper since most classes of things are imported at great expense from the main land.  Many things ARE cheaper, but its not all that.

nope I only travel for sun... I'm actually looking forward to not having to travel any more for my Vitamin D fix

The only regular travel I'll be doing is a €40 flight back home every 2 months or so.

I'll see what salaries are like anyway. I did spot a few 60K salaries on various job postings, but if they're lies then I'll find that out when interviewing :)

Birgu is nice. It seems to have more pedestrianized areas which mean less pollution. There's that dreadful mess they're making at Marsa which would affect your commute, though.

Actually Birgu is where I ended up on my last evening (having a pizza on Xatt Il-Forn watching the expensive yachts) and it's a lovely spot. Nice and quiet. I thought it might be a bit out of my price range though :)

I cycled there on a NextBike so it wasn't too bad for commuting back to Sliema.

We had a few days in Birgu last year and liked it very much especially  down by the lovely yachts I believe it is quite expensive to rent there, hope you manage to find somewhere suitable.

StimpsonJ :

Actually Birgu is where I ended up on my last evening (having a pizza on Xatt Il-Forn watching the expensive yachts) and it's a lovely spot. Nice and quiet. I thought it might be a bit out of my price range though :)

I cycled there on a NextBike so it wasn't too bad for commuting back to Sliema.

Live in Birgu/Vittoriosa, get the ferry across to Valletta, walk to the other side of Valletta and get the Sliema ferry!
No buses, no cars and by the sea all the time!

Ray

F0xgl0ve :
StimpsonJ :

Actually Birgu is where I ended up on my last evening (having a pizza on Xatt Il-Forn watching the expensive yachts) and it's a lovely spot. Nice and quiet. I thought it might be a bit out of my price range though :)

I cycled there on a NextBike so it wasn't too bad for commuting back to Sliema.

Live in Birgu/Vittoriosa, get the ferry across to Valletta, walk to the other side of Valletta and get the Sliema ferry!
No buses, no cars and by the sea all the time!

Ray

... and I'd put on more weight :)

Actually I've been off the bike for a few months now (for various reasons) and it's unbelievable how quickly the weight comes back. I don't have the motivation to join a gym, so cycling to work is great as I'm forced to do it.

StimpsonJ :
F0xgl0ve :
StimpsonJ :

Actually Birgu is where I ended up on my last evening (having a pizza on Xatt Il-Forn watching the expensive yachts) and it's a lovely spot. Nice and quiet. I thought it might be a bit out of my price range though :)

I cycled there on a NextBike so it wasn't too bad for commuting back to Sliema.

Live in Birgu/Vittoriosa, get the ferry across to Valletta, walk to the other side of Valletta and get the Sliema ferry!
No buses, no cars and by the sea all the time!

Ray

... and I'd put on more weight :)

Actually I've been off the bike for a few months now (for various reasons) and it's unbelievable how quickly the weight comes back. I don't have the motivation to join a gym, so cycling to work is great as I'm forced to do it.

Swim to work!

Ray

F0xgl0ve :

Swim to work!

Especially when there is fish farm pollution.. get my daily nutrients on the go!

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/ … 6736185980

Malta is a good place when you are looking for plenty of sun and want to work in an EU country. If there wouldn't be the language barrier, I personally would want to live in Sicily or Greece (not on a small island, but on one of the Southern peninsulas). Since I'm free to travel and work from wherever I want, I'll change my location every few years - that's the best medicine to avoid frustration  :D 

Malta was nice for a certain period of time, but within the last 5-6 years so many things became worst (in my opinion), that we decided to move on. We live 3 min. away from the sea, however, last year I went only 15-20 times for a short swim. The sun is nice (from November to April), but since two years I find the sun and heat during summer an unbearable burden.
Before I enjoyed diving into the Maltese culture (do you know the trips "Meet the locals"?) and making the experience of customer service job-hopping  :top:  I was used to visit Gozo around 10-15 times a year - last year: 0.  :(  Instead, I increased my trips to Sicily to 5 times and more every year.  :cool: 
After some time on the rock you'll need to escape from this limited environment. Unfortunately, as volcane wrote, travelling is pretty expensive - especially in summer. Money you save on one side, you have to spend on the other side to keep your mind in balance.  :joking:

But that's my personal approach. I know another compatriot of mine, who's living in Gozo for more than 5 years and is still very happy. I also have ex-colleagues who are still enjoying their living in Gzira. It mainly depends on your preferences  :unsure 

Don't give too much attention to peoples opinions. Is it dangerous to cycle in Malta? It depends ... I made more than 30tkm on a motorcycle in 5 years and find it less scary than it is in certain Europan cities. I'm not using my bicycle a lot only because of the bad road conditions and the air pollution along the streets. Saying air pollution: Malta has a huge advantage: it's a flat island with lots of wind, which blows away most of the pollution. But when you are trapped in a 1st-floor apartment next to a busy street, you won't be able to benefit from this  :huh:

I recommend you come over with your bicycle, rent a flat for short let and grab a job. Try this life for a few months and then decide if you can cope with Maltese idiosyncrasies.

bernie_iris_fabian_david :

Your posts remind me a bit of an ex-member of this site who attempted to move to Malta from Scotland about 2 years ago... she returned after less than 2 months because she - a bit like you - was a bit stubborn in that she just didn't want to accept that Malta is "different"...

I can remember her. This was her farewell post, maybe a good read for people considering a life in Malta - lower your expectations ... even lower ... better not to expect anything  ;)

volcane :

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-03-09/local-news/Malta-s-air-quality-very-poor-European-Environment-Agency-6736185980

Ah that's unfortunate ... so a life in Malta, swimming in the sea at St Julian's (or thereabouts) may not be the healthiest if the surrounding air is so toxic?

StimpsonJ :
volcane :

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-03-09/local-news/Malta-s-air-quality-very-poor-European-Environment-Agency-6736185980

Ah that's unfortunate ... so a life in Malta, swimming in the sea at St Julian's (or thereabouts) may not be the healthiest if the surrounding air is so toxic?

Why not just come here again and see for yourself, people are not all dropping down dead due to the pollution as some make it seem on here, plenty of people go swimming.

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