A five-year report on the state of the environment in European countries acknowledges the need of fundamental solutions in the coming 10 years to prevent climate changes leading to extreme high temperatures. The report notes that little progress has been made since the previous report five years ago.
The director of the European Environment Agency, Hans Bruyninckx, stated that the EU needs to introduce measures to respond to these trends.
“Things are indeed urgent. We need to bend the trends in the next decade, it’s a critical decade. We already see irreversible damage, climate change is happening, biodiversity is lost, species are disappearing, our oceans are changing fundamentally.”
The 500-page report shows that from the 35 targets earmarked for next year, EU member states only managed to implement six. The targets are divided into three aspects: the natural habitat, the circular economy and impact on human health. It is estimated that each year some half a million European citizens die as a result of air dust caused by emissions.
Maritime expert biologist, Professor Alan Deidun, said that the positive aspect in the report is the increase in sea protection. In this aspect, he added, Malta contributed by establishing 34 per cent of the Maltese waters as maritime protection areas.
The report however singles out the need of great changes in the sectors of energy and mobility.
Prof. Deidun mentioned the effect of traveling and mobility on the environment, adding that a change in attitude should not come only from governments, but even from citizens including with more recycling and a decrease in consumption and food wastage.
“A lot of food is wasted in restaurants, but even in schools. Someone made a proposal in Malta to create compost from food waste emanating from schools – we are talking about some 100 tons of food from schools, which is collected from there”.
Asked about the ambitions set by environmental targets for 2030 and 2050, Prof. Deidun said that if concrete action is taken, the target may be met including that by 30 years’ time the European Union will no longer produce emissions in the air.