Three environmental rangers have been recruited to monitor Natura 2000 sites and rural areas in a pilot project launched by the Environment Ministry.
Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said that their main role would be to increase awareness of environmental issues and to ensure that rural areas are respected by the public.
“At the moment the rangers are currently undertaking in-house training by Ambjent Malta, the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), and local environmental NGOs, and will have both an enforcement role as well as an educational one,” Farrugia maintained. “This is just the beginning: in the coming year we will see more recruitment as Malta will not only have strong environmental projects but also strong enforcement.”
The rangers will be working under the direction of Ambjent Malta’s scientific team, which is responsible for the implementation of environmental projects and the development of green infrastructure.
The team will be headed by a chief scientific officer, with an environmental officer directly responsible for coordinating their activities. They are set to work closely with local communities and interact with the public during their patrols and visits. They are also to assist Ambjent Malta in monitoring environmental rehabilitation projects, including the monitoring of planted trees and the control of invasive species.
The aim is to expand the initiative next year with the recruitment of an additional 13 officials.