Those visiting St George’s Square over the weekend will be able to witness an urban space transformed into a spectacle of flowers and colours, as part of the Valletta Green Festival.
The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) is participating in this festival to communicate its role as a regulator for the environment. ERA’s stand this year has several displays manned by experts, which include interactive games such as a giant carpet game that takes on an environmental twist to the classic snakes and ladders game. This year’s flower display, as part of the festival organized by the Valletta Cultural Agency, takes on an eye-opening angle, having plastic litter accompany some of the 80,000 plants and flowers in order to highlight the ugliness of plastic litter.
- Air Quality
This stand provides an interactive experience, delving into the sources of air pollution, ERA’s air quality monitoring network, the health effects of air pollutants, the actions to be taken in order to improve air quality, together with the resulting benefits. ERA monitors air quality in real time, by means of technological systems placed in Msida, Żejtun, Attard and a rural site in Għarb, Gozo. The data from these stations is available in real time on the ERA’s website.
- International Trade of Endangered Species
Some animals, plants and their related products are confiscated when they are transported. Their shipping is prohibited because of their protected status. In this regard, ERA has put together an exhibition which raises awareness on CITES; a convention intended to protect certain wild species from being traded and exploited unsustainably, as their extinction would have irreversible ecological consequences and economic and social effects. Those visiting St George’s Square will be able to see items that were confiscated and learn about what not to transport.
- Compliance and Enforcement
A directorate responsible for compliance and enforcement operates within ERA, handling various environmental aspects. The work conducted by this directorate is displayed during Green Fest. Last year, ERA issued 11 administrative fines on individuals, commercial companies and parastatal agencies, totalling €157,845. These covered various contraventions, including non-abidance with permit conditions, pollution of the sea and the unlawful removal of trees.
- LIFE BaĦAR
Members from the LIFE BaĦAR project are present in St George’s Square to raise awareness about the flora and fauna found in Malta’s seas. LIFE BaĦAR focused on marine life in our waters and it led to three inshore and five offshore areas being proposed for the protection of reef and cave habitats and inclusion in the Natura 2000 network. The new sites have led to an overall increase of protected marine area from 3487 km2 (in 2016) to 4138 km2.
- Marine litter and Biodiversity
Would you like to try your hand at fishing? This stand includes two aquariums filled with water and various plastic items to be fished out. ERA representatives are providing information on alternative sustainable items, for every object fished out. In addition, videos related to the various clean-up efforts will be displayed to raise awareness on the massive efforts these entail.ERA invites the public to visit its stands in St George’s Square and interact with the Authority’s dedicated workers, who strive to motivate the public to respect and protect environmental interests.