It’s become common knowledge that the environment is rapidly deteriorating and it’s important not to forget that. However, it’s equally as essential to understand the plans and protocols in place that our tiny island has to combat the effects of this daunting climate emergency.
One major effect of this crisis in Malta is grass fires.
The island has reported 543 grass fires over the past six months, which generally result from the mixture of negligence, dry grass and hot air, Civil Protection Department (CPD) official Kevin Pace said.
However, speaking to Lovin Malta, the director of the CPD Emanuel Psaila explained the ways in which the department deals with these potentially fatal flames.
“The Department of Civil Protection is equipped with special vehicles called ‘all terrain’ which are made to extinguish grass fires,” Psaila explained.
“In Malta, there are no forests but we have small woods such as Buskett, Arax and Miżieb, therefore the Department is in collaboration with entities such as Ambjent Malta and the Hunters and Trappers Association so that they will be able to assist the Civil Protection should any fires develop in these areas,” he continued.
Psaila also said that investments made into the Civil Protection in recent years have improved their chances at facing such challenges but “in the field of security, investment is never enough”.
The government will be investing in more equipment and vehicles, two of which will arrive next year.
Lovin Malta also reached out to a representative of the Environment Ministry and they outlined some of the policies that have been implemented since the issuing of the Low Carbon Development Strategy.
“Budget after budget, this Government has announced and implemented funds to bring about this transition to carbon neutrality by investing in schemes for PVs, schemes for electric cars, solar water heaters, and water pumps. Water conservation projects and afforestation projects have been numerous, and green infrastructure projects in urban areas are on the increase with millions invested in recent years alone.”
According to the representative, Malta has achieved significant emissions reduction due to a shift from the highly pollutant Heavy Fuel Oil to gas.
The government is also investing in a second interconnector and half of the Resilience and Recovery Fund will be used for greener initiatives, the representative informed.
The main emitting sectors, according to the environment ministry, are transport and energy efficiency in buildings; both areas that affect the socio-economic context as confirmed through the impact assessment of the Fit for 55 package.
However, the government is “determined to continue this action, together with our EU counterparts and to become a climate-neutral continent by 2050”.
In fact, the representative confirmed that the Low Carbon Development Strategy is putting forward ambitious plans in all relevant areas, primarily in transport and energy-efficiency in buildings.
However, these plans were not specified.
The first national climate campaign was also launched last April. ClimateOn was created to raise awareness on climate change, a factor described as “crucial for a successful delivery of the LCDS as most emissions reduction require effort from government, civil society, commercial operators as well as individuals”.
This will all culminate this year pre-COP26 through a national conference whereby the government will launch the adoption of the Low Carbon Development Strategy.
Despite all this supposed work, climate change is still a disconcerting reality that governments and individuals around the world need to focus their resources on fixing, Malta included.
Preserving and revitalising our agriculture should be a focal point for our islands because without it, we will rely on importation – a detrimental alternative.
So as always; shop local, consume sustainably and be climate-conscious.
What do you think about these plans and protocols?