Health Minister and Doctor Chris Fearne has backed ongoing infrastructure projects to solve Malta’s worrying air quality issue, with almost 15% of the country suffering from a respiratory illness.
“The quality of air is an important issue, we are taking it very seriously,” he told Lovin Malta.
He then claimed that the figure of roughly five deaths a week due to toxins was not necessarily correct, as it included people who had asthma but passed away from other causes.
However, the EU’s Environment Agency makes it absolutely clear that there are between 250-270 deaths every year that are directly attributable to air pollution.
The European Heart Journal, a leading peer-reviewed Oxford University publication, actually doubles that figure to 575.
The Minister also chose to focus on figures quoted by Newsbook, rather than address the official figures referenced in the question.
Fearne did concede that air quality is an issue in the country, which he said was primarily caused by congestion and traffic.
He maintained that the government was doing all it can to remedy the situation, whether that was through the introduction of electric cars (which accounts for 0.8% of the entire stock) and the construction of flyovers and other road widening projects.