Spending 700 million euros on urban gardens does not protect natural habitats – NGO
Tista’ taqra bil-
Spending 700 million euros on urban gardens has nothing to do with nature and biodiversity, environmental NGOs said on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, NGOs said that while spending 700 million euros on urban gardens could be significant, it was purely green infrastructure, warning that such spending would not be offset by the continued destruction of natural habitats.
“How can you create a garden in Floriana while destroying a beautiful natural area like Wied Żnuber? they asked.
The Labor Party promises an investment of 700 million euros, most of which will come from European funds, in green spaces.
“The environment will become our priority” – Deputy Prime Minister Fearne
The united front made up of BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, FAA, Friends of the Earth – Malta, Nature Trust Malta and the Walkers Association has tabled nine key environmental demands for the 2022 general election, two of which relate to habitats . and biodiversity and marine areas.
The NGOs pointed out that in a highly developed country like Malta, the focus should be on tackling the loss of natural habitats which is a major problem. Not only are natural habitats lost, but therefore even the biodiversity that thrives there.
Additionally, NGOs pointed out that while promises to increase outer development areas would be welcome, there must be political will to change existing planning policies and fill gaps that are frequently used to develop land. that are in the ODZ.
The Nationalist Party said it would add 50,000 square meters of public land to the ODZ if elected. In addition, a new nationalist government will require a two-thirds majority in parliament to approve development of ODZ land.
‘No more behind-the-scenes deals’: ODZ development will require two-thirds majority
Biodiversity is crucial to the well-being of our society and must be protected holistically, he said, adding that unfortunately the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) no longer deals bird protection laws and enforcement, and this has been placed under a separate unit that aims to appease the hunting and trapping lobby more than anything else.
“The result is an ongoing effort to weaken wildlife protection laws and find ways to derogate from the EU Birds Directive. Spring hunting seasons and bird trapping seasons go against the European Birds Directive and any government that comes in late March will face European Commission infringement procedures on all these issues,” they said. they called back.
“Our greatest natural resource is our seas, our marine areas. Yet there seems to be no plan for how these very important ecological sites are properly managed, protected and conserved for the benefit of all. We would like to see a very concrete effort to protect marine protected areas as popular boating areas must provide environmentally friendly anchorages to protect Posidonia from further degradation. Land reclamation projects must be suspended and stopped as the destruction of the natural seabed would be devastating and no monetary gain can justify such destruction. Marine litter needs a national campaign to seriously address the phenomenon of ghost fishing resulting from lost or abandoned fishing gear that continues to trap marine animals and fish unchecked.
The NGOs demanded that:
- Immediately stop the destruction of other natural footprints
- Close loopholes in planning policies to ensure ODZs remain intact
- Create and implement all land and marine Natura 2000 site management plans with special attention to Comino
- Create no-hunting zones in Natura 2000 sites
- End derogations from the EU Birds Directive as they are unjustified and unsustainable
- Create a wildlife crime unit within the Malta Police that deals with all crimes related to land and sea habitat and biodiversity, to enforce wildlife protection laws nature
- Protecting biodiversity holistically, including birds, under one authority, namely ERA
- Create more nature reserves where biodiversity is a priority
- Stop any land reclamation plans
- Launch a campaign to reduce marine litter and ghost fishing
- Set up eco-responsible moorings
- Plan a strong national strategy to combat invasive alien species.
The NGOs stressed that biodiversity must be included in all future plans and visions for the country, as they demanded an end to the approach of cosmetic promises of greenwashing projects that are not natural but merely infrastructural.
“Malta needs a government that is aware of the natural beauty of our islands and a vision that sees the link between the protection of our natural habitats, our biodiversity and our marine areas and the well-being and common good of our country.”
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