The Maltese head of state has publicly urged the government to do more to protect the country’s environment, warning that the balance between the urban and natural spheres is “too close to being compromised”.
In a speech on Monday, George Vella called on government, industry, construction developers and academics to work together to protect the country’s “declining natural heritage.”
“I want us to understand that ‘progress’ in the urban environment must not degrade the natural environment,” said the president.
“I fear that this balance is too close to being compromised, with all the consequences that entails.”
He said the Environment and Resources Authority, which serves as Malta’s environmental regulator and has its own enforcement unit, needs to be “more vigilant” to protect “the natural heritage we have left. “.
“We must not forget that what is happening in our country does not only affect the health and safety of our people,” the president said. âOur day-to-day behavior – what we eat, what we buy, what we throw away, and the means of transport we choose – have as much impact as large industrial projects.
“We must not forget that in order to purify the air, reduce drastic climate change, protect wildlife and the oceans, we are all responsible,” said the president.
âWhat we destroy today will be lost forever, but what we cultivate will continue to bear fruit and provide us and those who come after us with a better quality of life.
Vella delivered a speech at the annual Buonamico Award ceremony, which is now in its fourth year. The prize is awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to the knowledge or management of local biodiversity and environmental resources.
The 2020 award went to Jennifer Fiorentino and Alfred Micallef. Fiorentino is a science professor and researcher specializing in local lichens. Micallef, an educator, was a pioneer in integrating environmental concepts into the primary education curriculum and introduced the Duke of Edinburgh to Malta.
Vella congratulated both recipients on winning the award and said their work has brought hundreds of students to the natural sciences.
He also thanked ERA for its work and for creating the Buonamico Prize, to honor individuals who have dedicated their careers to increasing knowledge and understanding of Maltese biodiversity.
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