A 10-year plan for Malta to address its environmental issues and establish a green economy was launched yesterday by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Environment Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco.

The draft National Environmental Policy, which is now open for public consultation, spans practically every eco issue, ranging from climate change to noise pollution. It also talks about job creation and environmental taxation.

The government aims to double the number of green jobs (to 10,000) by 2015, when it will also ensure that half of all public procurement adheres to the EU’s Green Public Procurement criteria.

The plans include halting the loss of biodiversity and preparing the country for climate change and other environmental risks.

The policy deals with conservation of resources such as stone, fresh water and soil, as well as the importance of improving the physical appearance of towns and villages through, for example, the creation of more open spaces and pedestrian zones.

The policy also puts into perspective the government’s plans for eco-Gozo, where most of the plans will be fast-tracked.

Many of the roughly 200 proposals are already being implemented but the document is intended to provide a holistic account of the government’s direction when it comes to the environment.

In a four-page supplement, The Times today summarises the 100-page document, which can be found on www.opm.gov.mt/ambjent.

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