In a statement to the press, Partit Demokratiku together with Alternattiva Demokratika said that the Central Link project is another example of this current legislature’s fixation on economic growth as a yard-stick of progress rather than the quality of life of the citizens it governs for.
Ignoring the aspirations of the residents and farmers most directly affected by a project designed to knock off a few minutes of travel time to and from Valletta and its environs, this government has decided to forge ahead with a project that will only encourage further private vehicle use.
Malta already possesses air quality which is one of the worst in Europe. As a doctor I can attest to the fact that people moving here from abroad, for the first time in their lives, have begun suffering from asthma and chronic sinusitis. It is also a known fact that hundreds of people a year are literally dying from respiratory conditions directly linked to poor air quality.
It has been proven that green spaces and trees are an indispensable component of mental well-being. How many Maltese have noticed that when they travel abroad to the countryside of other nations (as we have so little left here), they feel better both physically and psychologically?
We have seen huge economic growth in the past few years, but how many people, hand on heart, can say that their quality of life has improved? More stress, longer working hours to make ends meet, a far more crowded country.
Three countries known for being the most innovative when it comes to social progress, three countries with young leaders who have a stake in the future; Finland, Iceland and New Zealand, have all recently stated that their focus is no longer primarily on economic growth, but rather on improving the quality of life of their citizens.
We have a new young leader of government; he has said that the environment will be one of his priorities. He should show he has greater vision than his predecessor (who openly stated the future was for his children to sort out, not for himself), by calling a halt to the wholesale destruction of what little there is good left in Malta.
He should recognise that money alone does not make for a decent living; recognise that by thinking outside the box on transport issues, solutions that make for sustainable well-being can be found; recognise that the destruction being wrought now will leave us all the poorer.