Air pollution: “The Government does not care about its citizens” – AD

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Alternattiva Demokratika criticised the Government on its non-prioritisation of Maltese citizens’ quality of life. It stated that the Government does not care about the levels of air pollution in Malta.

During a press conference in Birżebbuġa, AD said that the warning by the European Commission about the Government’s failure to submit a National Air Pollution Control Plan is proof of this nonchalance. To date, the draft plan has been issued for public consultation when the deadline for submission was back in April 2019.

The Secretary General, Ralph Cassar, stated that not only is the plan late, it is also ‘weak and does not contain effective measures to reduce toxic gas emissions’. He added that NOx gases, emitted in urban areas by cars, cause respiratory diseases. Current emissions stand at 4.9 kilotonnes, more than double the limit of 2 kilotonnes. However, the report ‘unashamedly proposes that the emissions are cut to just 4.5 kilotonnes’.

The AD Chairperson, Carmel Cacopardo, said that AD has been making proposals on how to tackle pollution for years on end. He said that there is a need to switch at a much faster pace to renewable energy sources, from sun, to wind, to other sources of renewable energy.

“We want to see a drastic reduction in car dependency. We want zero-emission, massive pedestrianisation, space on roads reserved for public transport and a Bus Rapid Transit system. We want bicycle superhighways connecting localities in Malta and Gozo.”

Carmel Cacopardo concluded by saying that even pollution from shipping needs to be tackled. “It is positive that Government has plans to introduce shore-to-ship electricity supply in the Grand Harbour. We urge Government to introduce shore-to-ship electricity also at the Freeport. Air pollution needs to be addressed effectively all over our country.”