A new environmental ranger project has launched with the recruitment of three rangers tasked with foreseeing Malta’s woodland areas.
The rangers will be trained on local flora and fauna, regulations pertaining to protected areas, community involvement and existing threats and pressures on the local environment.
Most importantly, they will be tasked with raising environmental awareness and ensuring that the general public respects the island’s rural zones.
“This pilot project was kicked off with the recruitment of three environmental rangers who will be protecting the surroundings in various areas around the country,” said Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia.
“At the moment the rangers are currently undertaking in-house training by Ambjent Malta, the Environment and Resources Authority and local environmental NGOs, and will have both an enforcement role as well as an educational one,” he said.
The environment rangers will also be responsible for assisting Ambjent Malta in the monitoring of environmental rehabilitation projects, including the monitoring of planted trees and initiatives to control invasive species, amongst others.
Malta’s woodland areas are in dire need of heightened regulation following endless reports of pollution and rubbish left behind by outdoor recreational activities such as camping, hunting etc.
The notion to have a “green warden” patrolling areas such as Miżieb and Aħrax was brought up following the signing of a controversial deal between the government and the Federazzjoni Kaċċaturi Nassaba Konservazzjonisti.
The deal effectively put the two woodland areas under the management of the hunting lobby. In return, FKNK promised to keep the spaces open to the public (albeit a few restrictions) and more upkeep of the areas.
“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,” continued Farrugia.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, FKNK spokesperson Lucas Micallef said that the rangers will possess executive powers, meaning that they will have the power to dish out fines to those breaking the law, such as the illegal dumping of materials.
Following the pilot phase, the Environment Ministry plans to expand the initiative by recruiting 13 additional third-party officers tasked with safeguarding Malta’s rural areas.
Do you think the environment ranger scheme will be effective? Let us know below