Tuesday, 26th October 2010 – 11:47CET
The Budget jury gives its verdict – Environmentalist
Alfred E. Baldacchino, 64 Now a pensioner, Mr Baldacchino used to be an assistant director at the planning authority’s Environmental Protection Directorate and has a master’s degree in environmental management and planning. He lives in an Attard maisonette with his wife with whom he has two children, now married. He drives a five-year-old OpelCorsa – “the cheapest possible on the market”, and his income falls in the €7,501 – €14,000 bracket.
Mr Baldacchino said although the environment was addressed, there were some disappointing inclusions or omissions and some were “worrying”. One such point was the announcement of the roads linking Mellieħa to the Red Tower and the Red Tower to Ċirkewwa. Apart from passing from “virgin natural environment, one of them has to pass through two Natura 2000 sites”. He was also disappointed to see that the environmental deficit was not so strongly addressed. “No plans for the collection, management of run off and protection of underground water; no management plans for Natura 2000 sites, either terrestrial or marine, no plans for job opportunities in the environment fields, no plans and measures for the negative impacts of climate change.”
He also saw as disappointing the fact that only slight importance was given to the economic opportunities in the environmental fields and only small limited incentives were given to photovoltaic panels and solar heaters.
“The Budget also ignores present economic burdens borne by society because of unsustainable mismanagement, such as in the field of water, particulate matter, disappearance of biodiversity and toxic waste, be it liquid or solid,” Mr Baldacchinosaid.
Mr Baldacchino said environmental investment was still minimal compared to other fields such as health, industry, education, infrastructure, development, commercial activity and economic gain. He added this was a “clear indication” the environment was still regarded as being a mere appendix, “notwithstanding the fact that its mismanagement has such a great negative economic and social impact”.