The environment – Malta’s hot potato

Being a very small island at just 319 square kilometres, Malta has always had a contentious battle with the environment. It is a fine balance between conserving the environment and development which has threatened to engulf the country in recent decades. In fact, statistics show that at least 33 per cent of the country is currently built up with ever more areas being gobbled up for development under pretentios schemes such agro-tourism and luxury property devlopment.

Agriculture in Malta has been on a downwards trend in the past six decades when it was practically the most important sector of the economy pre-independence to less than 10 per cent today. It is a known fact that agriculture takes up considerable resources especially water and with the shrinking of potable water sources, this issue has become worrying. Environmental degradation of fallow land is also an issue as these plots are kept ever closer to development zone boundaries in the hope that they will one day be included in a scheme extension.

Pollution is another issue that has been consistently on the rise in the past decades. With the ever increasing number of cars on the roads, especially during rush hour times, the smog created is well above what are deemed as accetable levels by the major health authorities. A recent decision to relocate the Enemalta fuel storage depot from Birzebbugia to Has-Saptan on the outskirts of Ghaxaq demonstrates the Catch-22 situation in which Malta is placed. While the decommissioing of the Birzebbugia installation is welcome for the long suffering residents of the area, the relocation will mean that over 4,000 square metres of agricultural land (that also includes an olive grove) will be lost to the new development.

Malta’s chief natural wellbeing challenges identify with respiratory maladies, which might be identified with air contamination. For sure, the last is a main consideration in natural wellbeing, and emerges from sources, for example, street transport, warm power stations, waste incineration plants not meeting the required gauges, landfills, development locales, quarrying and mining. Extremely youthful youngsters, and even unborn infants, are especially touchy to air contaminations. The WHO reports that the accompanying are among the significant ailments and conditions connected with airborne natural determinants: gastrointestinal infections; growths; cardiovascular illnesses; respiratory sicknesses; overweight and corpulence; wounds; and, formative issue.

The key air contaminations in Malta are particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and benzene. Malta’s most noteworthy air toxins be that as it may, are particulates, the centralizations of which surpass EU gauges in specific territories, and ozone, which begins basically from transboundary sources additionally from activity and force era outflows. Different measures have officially taken to address air contamination. The following step vital for further enhancements in air quality is the presentation of all the more naturally agreeable transport measures and the utilization of cleaner and option vitality sources.

Commotion or noise pollution is likewise a zone of conceivably huge ecological wellbeing sway, despite the fact that there is so far minimal open consciousness of its impacts on human wellbeing. The chief reason for ecological commotion in Malta is activity. In the next article we will discuss Malta’s water shortage problem and how this is being addressed, if it is.