Public opinion and protest efficacy: A study on the proposed yacht marina in Marsaskala, Malta.

Authors: Valerie Visanich

Corresponding: Valerie Visanich (valerie.visanich@um.edu.mt)

Keywords: Social Movement, Environmental Movement, Yacht marina, Protest, Marsaskala, Malta

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2022.2.04

Abstract:
Public opinion data regarding environmental concerns are central to a better understanding of the effects of social movements in sensitising environmental issues, and at times changing political decisions. In August 2021, Transport Malta issued an expression of interest for the design, construction and operation of a 700-berth yacht marina in the bay of Marsaskala, a fast-growing locality in the south east of the Maltese Islands. A social movement made up of residents, non-residents, an environmental NGO and local stakeholders organised a number of protests following the publication of the marina plans. The aim of this article is to identify underlying factors causing individuals’ concerns on the proposed development. It explores the environmental movement surrounding this concern and analyses survey data on public opinion. It does so to better understand the extent of specific areas of impact that the proposed marina would have on the community of Marsaskala. Specifically, it focuses on how this would impinge on the everyday life of citizens. Results point to the social, environmental and economic impacts that this development would have, particularly on the community infrastructure of the locality of Marsaskala. Discussion focuses on how the ongoing impact on public opinion and protest, not only on mobilising public opinion but impacting political decisions.

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