Call for more funds for ecological sites
The environmental group Nature Trust has called on the government to allocate funds for the management and protection of ecological and Natura 2000 sites in the upcoming budget.
It urged the authorities to beef up the police's Administrative Law Enforcement Unit, which was "chronically understaffed" and needed full executive powers to be able to effect proper environmental law enforcement.
In a statement, it said authorities like the Malta Environment and Planning Authority were very poor compared to what was needed.
The non-governmental organisation said it had been calling on the government to allocate funds towards nature conservation and law enforcement for the past six years.
It said although the government had voted funds towards waste issues and provided some incentives for renewable energy in the last few years, budget allocation for the conservation of Natura 2000 and ecological sites was given a very low priority.
"As an EU member state, Malta is today bound to protect such sites not only to fulfil its EU obligations but also for Maltese citizens to enjoy," Nature Trust said in a statement.
It also called on the government to create green jobs aimed at the conservation and protection of the more than 30 Natura 2000 sites, adding that only the few managed by NGOs have a management plan to regulate their protection and operation.
It also called for more incentives towards renewable energy backed by a national education campaign to encourage more citizens to benefit from them.