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Title: The application of the EU nitrates directive to Malta : fundamental change or business as usual?
Authors: Gauci, Jessica
Keywords: Agricultural chemicals -- Law and legislation -- European Union countries
Nitrates -- Environmental aspects
Agriculture -- Malta
European Parliament. Directive 91/676/EEC
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether there has been a change in the quality, quantity, method and timing of manure application by local farmers following adoption of the EU Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC). Another aim was to find out a spatial correlation between the manure practices, and the reported nitrate values in groundwater and the concentrations of livestock farms, in the areas considered in this study. A hundred in-depth interviews were conducted with local farmers both Maltese and Gozitans. Data on manure practices and manure handling, which was gathered through interviews, was analysed in the light of the new EU regulations. Both arable and livestock farmers' locations were digitised, through the use of Geographical Information System. Spatial correlations between the farmers' location along with the manure practice, the nitrate values in groundwater within the area and the number of livestock farms were analysed. The results of the interviews revealed no substantial changes in manure practices despite the introduction of new regulations. High nitrate levels were found in areas where livestock farms are concentrated. However, no spatial pattern was identified between the nitrate concentration, number of livestock farms and manure practices. Manure applications by different farmers were rather markedly different. The main conclusion was that despite the fact that data on nitrate levels was rather lacking in quality, frequency and resolution, still nitrate values were higher in the perched aquifer, as a result of a large concentration of livestock farms. Another conclusion was that, in areas with high nitrate levels a considerable number of interviewed farmers are adopting proper management in manure practices as a result of their awareness in this respect. The author recommends better enforcement of regulations. Another alternative could be that of using animal waste, as a renewable energy resource to generate electricity thus eliminating the problem of inappropriate manure discarding and groundwater contamination.
Description: B.A.(HONS)GEOGRAPHY
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2011
Dissertations - FacArtGeo - 2011

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