Alternattiva Demokratika demands ‘new normal’ to improve air quality

“Air is cleaner, but it’s no thanks to government” 

“We cannot continue taking road traffic for granted”
“We cannot continue taking road traffic for granted”

“Air is cleaner, but it’s no thanks to government,” Green Party secretary-general Ralph Cassar has said in a renewed call for a reform on transport that can improve air quality.

Cassar said road transport was a major contributor to air pollution according to the Malta’s National Air Pollution Control Plan, but noted that air quality improved with reduced traffic as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The party said both Nationalist and Labour governments had resisted calls for the reform of the transport sector and only implemented measures targeting the energy sector. “Indeed the Nationalist Party wants cheaper fuel, leading to more pollution and more health issues. The PL and PN take it in turns to display their shortsightedness, depending which of them is in opposition, to promise cheap, polluting fossil fuels,” Cassar said.

“We cannot continue taking road traffic for granted. Solutions do exist, but we need to have the courage to move forward with them. We need a new normal, where we focus on preventing illness rather than curing it. This approach is essential as it will not only save lives, but also save money.

“The solutions are two-fold: both incentives and disincentives are required. Sustainable travel modes like bicycles and pedelecs need adequate safe infrastructure all across the Maltese Islands, whereas public transport needs many more bus lanes, and much more investment to further increase routes. A Bus Rapid Transit system is a must.”

AD said it opposes road-widening, calling it destructive from a land use perspective, but also counter-productive as it encourages people to drive and emit more pollution. “We support low emission zones, along with restricting traffic in village centres. These measures have been successfully tested in numerous European towns and cities, and have not only improved air quality, but also brought a new life within town and city centres. People’s health should always come first, and it is for this reason that we demand a new normal!”

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