Floriana’s Triq Sant’ Anna is the most air polluted road in Malta while the level of pollution in Msida will soon reach maximum levels permitted by EU Regulations. This has resulted from monitoring carried out by the Environmental and Resources Authority (ERA) on the quality of air. Well aware that traffic is the major cause of air pollution the Authority is working on a plan to be published next year to reduce air pollution.
In Malta there are almost as many vehicles as there is population. With 375,000 licenced vehicles on Malta’s roads, levels of air pollution are reaching alarming status.
ERA official Mark Scerri said the highest level of pollution was recorded in Floriana’s Triq Sant’ Anna.
Scerri said the pollution in this street is markedly higher than in other zones because it has high buildings and this obstructs wind circulation and the pollution remains latent.
He said pollution is mostly in areas of traffic congestion like the Birkirkara Bypass. In contrast, least pollution is evident in the western part of Malta where there is a more rural aspect, such as at Siggiewi.
Scerri continued that in Gozo, if one avoids the Rabat zone, the quality of air is much better than can be found in Malta.
Another ERA official, Nadine Mercieca, explained that together with Transport Malta, the Authority is focusing on levels of air pollution from traffic emissions in the centre of Malta, particularly Msida which is nearing maximum tolerant levels according to EU quality of air directives. She explained the main challenge is that of vehicles on roads with many of them having an average of 15 years of road use.
She added that ERA is working on a plan that will be published in April next year aimed at substantially reducing air pollution.
Ms Mercieca said various discussions are ongoing so that together regulators see what better measures Malta can implement to reduce emissions, particularly of nitrogen dioxides in the coming years. She said this is a long-term plan to substantially reduce pollution by 2030.
Over the last two years ERA has taken enforcement measures on industrial air emissions. The Authority acts when emission levels exceed environmental tolerance and entities responsible have to make adjustments.