Nature Trust – FEE Malta is calling on the Government to give priority to the environment and allocate a budget vote making it possible for all protected natural sites to be adequately conserved and managed for future generations to enjoy.
In a statement, to mark World Environment Day, which is celebrated on the 5th of June, the eNGO said that “with our country now reaping the benefits of a strong economy and making a surplus, it is only right that a share of this goes to our environment and natural heritage which for years has been totally neglected by various Governments.”
NT-FEE Malta went on to say that “economic gains have taken the place of sustainable development and are seeing that economic priorities are outweighing social and environmental needs thus moving away from the real concept of sustainable development.”
It added that, “society’s wellbeing, human health, open spaces for enjoyment, clean air quality and water quality and some economic gains can only be achieved if the environment is put at para with economic needs.”
“Malta is today calling for environmental attention with regards to issues such as: Most of our Natura 2000 sites are crying for action such as Il-Maghluq at Marsascala, the Dwejra area in Gozo and Pembroke,” stated the eNGo.
It pointed out that, “other sites are witnessing litter dumping, vandalism and lack of law enforcement such as Pembroke, Il-Ballut at Marsaxlokk and Fomm ir-Rih, among others.”
NT-FEE Malta argued that Marine Protected Areas “are still paper MPAs such as Dwejra and Filfla.” Promised protection of ODZ sites are “under bombardment by development permits such as large fuel stations when in 10 years time the EU will be moving away from fossil fuels.”
“Landscape value sites are being destroyed at an alarming rate such as Blue Lagoon in Comino,” it said.
It said that, “with Malta’s economy now at a high level, it is high time that the environment is truly given a higher place on the national agenda.”
The eNGO also argued that “law enforcement should be given the human resources required to ensure that abuse, vandalism and law breakers are brought in line and pay for the damage done towards society and future generations.”
It also appealed to the construction industry to become “environment conscious and stop seeing short term economic gains but rather embark with our authorities on a genuine long term vision of real sustainable development.”
“We simply cannot continue to kill the goose that lays the golden egg: without such plans Malta will lose it natural heritage, have an increased rate of citizens with health problems and can also lose its charm that attracts so many tourists,” it said.
NT-FEE Malta concluded by saying that, “environmentalists were often called crazy back in the 1970’s when they foresaw climate change and today they have been proved right. So let us take action before the little natural heritage we have is truly lost and for once take the correct road and be an example to all.”
Photograph by Alain Salvary