Pollution and the hiving off of agricultural land to cash-hungry developers may have started to drastically change the minds of Maltese people, with a Eurobarometer showing that the country has some of the largest concerns when it comes to climate change’s effect on biodiversity and nature’s transformation into other land uses.
In fact, Maltese people are the second most likely to believe that “economic development [that damages the environment] should be prohibited” in the entire EU (63%)
The figure is up by 12% since 2015 (the highest increase in the entire block), while the country also recorded the most significant decrease in people who believe “economic development should take precedence” over the protection of nature.
Meanwhile issues surrounding enforcement, or the lack thereof, are failing to go away, as the strengthening of biodiversity conservation regulations is unsparingly the most frequently chosen preferred action by the Maltese people.
The substantial change comes despite Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and land-reclamation-loving Environment Minister Jose Herrera consistently touting the importance of economic development and growth over the environment.
The survey does show that Maltese people believe they and the country’s biodiversity are some of the most threatened by the “conversion of nature to other land uses” (58%) and climate change (68%)
Maltese people also rank highest in their belief that nature and the environment must be protected to improve the quality of life for the local population and the significant promotion of nature-friendly land use.
In his electoral roll-out, Muscat has seemingly begun to address some environmental concerns by launching large green projects in Birżebbuġa and Ta’ Qali National Park. However, with the government continuously ignoring the areas most suffering through the burden of over-development and massive pollution, critics still believe that the government is still failing to address the pressing issue.
The survey was carried out in the 28 EU Member States between 4 and 20 December 2018. Some 27,643 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face-to-face at home in their mother tongue.
What do you make of these statistics? Do the high percentages surprise you? Let us know in the comments below