The Malta Independent 23 May 2024, Thursday
View E-Paper

TMID Editorial: Malta feels as though it’s getting smaller

Tuesday, 28 March 2023, 11:23 Last update: about 2 years ago

Sometimes it feels as though Malta is getting smaller and smaller.

It feels as though there are hardly any outdoor spaces left where one can go to be alone and think, or where one can go with their family to find some peace and quiet, just to be alone with their husbands, wives and children, without running into many others doing the exact same thing.

The island is small, and there’s absolutely nothing one can do about that, but we need to seriously check our plans for the future.

ADVERTISEMENT

The little green space left must be protected. The news of the government’s decision to sell off a green lung in Mellieħa creates much confusion. On the one hand the government is arguing that it is pro-environment, and says that it is investing in green spaces and the like, and then on the other hand it does something like this. The north of Malta is not as intensely developed as the centre, and perhaps it should remain that way.

The island is small, and we need our green areas. Nobody wants to live in an island just full of buildings.

The government’s move to try and create green areas through the setting up of Project Green is good, and will be of benefit, but it also needs to preserve the green areas that already exist. Creating a green area in one spot and taking it away in another just doesn’t make sense.

When one goes to a park, or the countryside, or an overlook on a public holiday for instance, it’s packed with people. Why? As there aren’t that many spaces where people can go.

Planning in Malta, if you can call it that, has become a question of ‘how high can we build, and how many apartments can we fit in a space’.

Then we come to the high rise buildings. They include public piazzas, which is of course important, but are they creating these piazzas as a sort of promenade for shops, or are they creating gardens where the public can spend some time and relax?

People need spaces where they can just go to spend time with family which aren’t heavily commercialised, which are green and offer playgrounds and basketball courts or small football pitches. Mental health is impacted by our surroundings. If all we see every day is the inside of an office, streets lined with ugly looking buildings and no greenery… that’s going to have an impact.

The government is meant to be focusing on urban greening, which will help a bit with this issue. Meanwhile, Project Green reportedly received 72 proposals by local councils, NGOs and other entities by 15 March for environmental projects and were awaiting approval. One hopes that many of these would deal with creating green areas in the heart of dense urban areas.

Overpopulation has its effects, and this is something which the government needs to start taking into account. Because of this, we need far better planning, and thus far lets’ be honest, this is lacking.

We need to protect the green areas we have, create more, and also rethink planning policies.
  • don't miss