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© Alberto Favaro

EC Representation in Malta

Maltese worried about air pollution and traffic jams
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16/06/2011 15:01:05

According to a Eurobarometer study commissioned by the European Union, air pollution is Malta’s main environmental concern. In fact, 54% of the Maltese population are worried about air pollution compared to 36% in other EU countries.

    Photo credit: Department of Information  (Malta)

    The Maltese are also worried about growing waste (43%), climate change (42%), water pollution (36%) and man-made disasters (32%) with the latter two being rather lower than the average in the EU (42% and 41% respectively). Compared to their counterparts in the EU, the Maltese are not that concerned about natural disasters (21%), the depletion of natural resources (23%) and the impact on our health of chemicals used in everyday products (22%). The EU average is at least 10% higher for these three worrying situations.

    The fact that not much is done in Malta to reduce noise levels also showed up in this survey as 14% of the Maltese are worried about noise pollution compared to the EU average of 9%.

    An overwhelming majority of Europeans think that protecting the environment is important (95%) and almost 8 in 10 Europeans (77%) say that protection of the environment can boost economic growth. The survey results of the Eurobarometer survey concerning environmental attitudes of EU citizens, moreover, reveal that there is wide public support for environmental legislation at EU level and that EU funding should be allocated to support environmentally friendly activities and developments.

    The study also reveals that 30% of the Maltese population are worried about urban problems such as traffic jams, pollution and lack of green spaces compared to the much lower EU average of 18%. This is not surprising considering that Malta has one of the highest per capita rates of car ownership in the EU. In fact, official data compiled by the National Statistics Office reveal that at the end of the first quarter of 2011, the stock of licensed motor vehicles stood at 305,771 or around 3 cars per 4 Maltese citizens.

    The survey, conducted in all 27 Eauropean Union Member States showed for example about two-thirds (75%) of EU car users said it was likely they would compromise on a car's speed in order to reduce emissions. In addition the majority of car drivers (53%) agreed with existing car charges being replaced by new charging schemes based on the actual use of their vehicle. While most users chose a car because of its convenience, nearly three quarters of EU citizens (71%) said they would consider using public transport more frequently if it would be possible to buy a single ticket covering all possible transport modes.

    When asked about solutions to tackle environmental problems, 41% of the Maltese insisted that existing environmental legislation should be enforced. This is in sharp contrast to the much lower EU average of 25%. The survey also reveals that 30% of the Maltese are in favour of introducing stricter environmental legislation compared to the EU average of 23%.

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