Air Pollution costing the life of more than one person a day in Malta

Medical and environmental organisations call for serious measures to improve local air quality

28 medical and environmental organisations are calling for serious measures to improve local air quality.

The Centre of Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) this month issued a report showing that 11,000 deaths in Europe were avoided due to less consumption of fossil fuel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent studies show that on average in Malta more than 500 people die prematurely every year due to air pollution alone (see here and here). Maltese citizens reported the worst exposure to pollution according to a 2017 Eurostat study.  Air pollution fell drastically during COVID-19 outbreak restrictions in Malta and so did asthma attacks possibly due to both decrease in air pollution and restrictive measures. Another local hazard is ship pollution where studies show how a Mediterranean Emission Control Area (ECA) can prevent up to 6,000 lives annually in the region.

The organisations therefore recommend the following measures to be implemented and to persist even after the end of the pandemic:

      • taking interlinked health hazards – air and noise pollution, mental health and the obesity pandemic as seriously as the COVID-19 pandemic
      • better incentives for renewable energy sources and cleaner means of transport
      • green areas accessible to all members of the public
      • combining work and tutorship from home with conventional methods whenever possible to decrease unnecessary commuting and related emissions
      • better and safer infrastructure for both pedestrians and users of bicycles and similar means of transport
      • investment in improved public transport with possible addition of other transport means
      • better measures and infrastructure for shared and public transportation
      • larger permanent pedestrian zones in village cores and towns and long-term implementation of plans recently mentioned by Government
      • full and timely implementation of the National Air Pollution Control Programme
      • establishment of an Emission Control Area (ECA) in our seas to decrease seacraft emissions
      • measures tackling IT illiteracy in all age groups since both public and private services are now more dependent on digitalisation

The general public is encouraged to approach their parliamentary and local council representatives so that all stakeholders can come together and target one of the biggest avoidable health risk amongst us.

Air pollution Europe map

Figure 1 – Malta recorded by far the highest share of its population (26.5%) reporting that they had been exposed to pollution, grime or other environmental problems [Source]

 

Air Pollution Graph

Figure 2 – Ultrafine particle measurements taken at Senglea, with two cruise liners berthed in Valletta, and a third cruise liner leaving. Maximum concentration peaked at 74,000 pt/cm³ of ultrafine particles [Source]

 

Signed by: 

  1. Association of Anaesthesiologists of Malta (AAM)
  2. Association of Private Family Doctors (APFD)
  3. Association of Surgeons of Malta (ASM)
  4. Attard Residents Environmental Network (AREN)
  5. Bicycle Advocacy Group (BAG)
  6. Birdlife Malta
  7. Creating A Positive Environmentally Resourceful Society (CAPERS)
  8. Din l-Art Ħelwa (DLĦ)
  9. Extinction Rebellion
  10. Family Medicine Trainees Malta
  11. Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA)
  12. Friends of the Earth Malta
  13. Futur Ambjent Wieħed
  14. Geriatric Medicine Society of Malta (GMSM)
  15. Green House
  16. IRMCo – Integrated Resources Management
  17. Malta Association of Psychiatric Trainees (MAPT)
  18. Malta Association of Psychiatry (MAP)
  19. Malta Medical Students’ Association (MMSA)
  20. Malta Association of Public Health Medicine (MAPHM)
  21. Maltese Association of Dermatology and Venereology (MADV)
  22. Maltese Association of Radiologists and Nuclear Medicine Physicians (MARNMP)
  23. Moviment Graffitti
  24. Malta Obesity Association
  25. Nature Trust – FEE Malta
  26. Ramblers’ Association of Malta
  27. The Archaeological Society Malta (ASM)
  28. Żminijietna – Voice of the Left

 

Għaqdiet mediċi u ambjentali jsejħu għal miżuri serji għat-titjib tal-kwalità tal-arja

It-Tniġġis tal-Arja jiswa l-ħajja ta’ aktar minn persuna waħda kuljum f’Malta

 

28 għaqda medika u ambjentali qed isejħu għal miżuri serji għat-titjib tal-kwalità tal-arja.

Iċ-Ċentru għar-Riċerka fuq l-Enerġija u Arja Nadifa (CREA) dax-xahar ħareġ rapport li juri li 11,000 mewt fl-Ewropa ġew evitati minħabba tnaqqis fil-konsum ta’ prodotti taż-żejt bħala sors ta’ enerġija waqt il-pandemija tal-COVID-19.

Studji riċenti juru li f’Malta jmutu medja ta’ 500 persuna fis-sena b’mod prematur minħabba l-kwalità tal-arja fil-pajjiż (ara hawn u hawn). Il-Maltin huma wkoll l-aktar ċittadini Ewropej li rrappurtaw li huma esposti għal tniġġis tal-arja skont studju tal-Eurostat fl-2017. It-tniġġis tal-arja naqas drastikament waqt ir-restrizzjonijiet tal-pandemija f’Malta u l-attakki tal-ażma naqsu wkoll possibilment kemm minħabba nuqqas ta’ tniġġis u l-miżuri restrittivi. Theddida għas-saħħa oħra hija t-tniġġis minn vapuri f’Malta fejn studji juru li t-twaqqif ta’ Emission Control Area (ECA) Mediterranja tista’ jipprevjeni l-mewt ta’ 6,000 persuna fir-reġjun kull sena.

 L-għaqdiet allura qed isejħu għal dawn il-miżuri biex jiġu implimentati u biex jibqgħu preżenti anke wara t-tmiem tal-pandemija tal-COVID-19:

  • li perikli għas-saħħa interkonnessi – it-tniġġis tal-arja u tal-istorbju, is-saħħa mentali u l-pandemija tal-obeżità jiġu meħuda b’serjetà kif ittieħdet il-pandemija tal-COVID-19
  • inċentivi aħjar għal xiri u użu ta’ sorsi ta’ enerġija rinnovabbli u mezzi ta’ trasport li jniġġsu inqas
  • żoni ta’ kampanja u ħdura aċċessibbli għaċ-ċittadini kollha f’Malta
  • introduzzjoni ta’ xogħol u tagħlim mid-dar mal-metodi konvenzjonali meta dan huwa possibbli sabiex ma jkunx hemm traffiku evitabbli bit-tniġġis li jġib miegħu
  • infrastruttura aktar sigura u avvanzata għall-użu pedonali, roti u mezzi ta’ trasport simili
  • investiment ikbar fit-trasport pubbliku b’possibilità ta’ żieda ta’ mezzi oħra ta’ trasport
  • żoni pedonali akbar u permanenti fiċ-ċentri ta’ bliet u rħula u implimentazzjoni fit-tul ta’ pjanijiet riċentament imħabbra mill-Gvern
  • implimentazzjoni sħiħa u f’waqtha tal-Programm Nazzjonali għal-Kontroll tat-Tniġġis tal-Arja
  • twaqqif ta’ Emission Control Area (ECA) Mediterranja sabiex jitnaqqas it-tniġġis minn vapuri
  • miżuri li jikkumbattu l-illitteriżmu diġitali eżistenti f’kull età minħabba żieda ta’ diġitalizzazzjoni fis-servizzi pubbliċi u dawk privati

 

Il-pubbliku huwa mħeġġeġ jitkellem mar-rappreżentanti parlamentari u lokali tiegħu sabiex l-imsieħba soċjali kollha jingħaqdu u jiġġieldu waħda mill-akbar kawżi ta’ mewt evitabbli.

Figura nru 1 – Malta irreġistrat l-għola persentaġġ tal-popolazzjoni (26.5%) li rrappuraw li ġew esposti għal tniġġis, trabijiet u problem ambjentali [Sors]

 

Figura nru  2 –  Tkejjil ta’ ultrafine particle (UFP) meħud mill-Isla waqt li żewġ cruise liners  kienu rmiġġati l-Belt Valletta, u t-tielet wieħed ħiereġ mill-port il-Kbir. Il-livelli laħqu 74,000 pt/cm³ [Sors]

Il-firmatarji huma:

  1. Association of Anaesthesiologists of Malta (AAM)
  2. Association of Private Family Doctors (APFD)
  3. Association of Surgeons of Malta (ASM)
  4. Attard Residents Environmental Network (AREN)
  5. Bicycle Advocacy Group (BAG)
  6. Birdlife Malta
  7. Creating A Positive Environmentally Resourceful Society (CAPERS)
  8. Din l-Art Ħelwa (DLĦ)
  9. Extinction Rebellion
  10. Family Medicine Trainees Malta
  11. Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA)
  12. Friends of the Earth Malta
  13. Futur Ambjent Wieħed
  14. Geriatric Medicine Society of Malta (GMSM)
  15. Green House
  16. IRMCo – Integrated Resources Management
  17. Malta Association of Dermatology and Venereology (MADV)
  18. Malta Association of Psychiatric Trainees (MAPT)
  19. Malta Association of Psychiatry (MAP)
  20. Malta Association of Public Health Medicine (MAPHM)
  21. Maltese Association of Dermatology and Venereology (MADV)
  22. Maltese Association of Radiologists and Nuclear Medicine Physicians (MARNMP)
  23. Moviment Graffitti
  24. Malta Obesity Association
  25. Nature Trust – FEE Malta
  26. Ramblers’ Association of Malta
  27. The Archaeological Society Malta (ASM)
  28. Żminijietna – Voice of the Left