Economic growth, declining deficit, lower debt and low unemployment rates… This shows that Malta’s economy is constantly improving, quality of life is increasing and poverty should be declining. But is this really happening?
Some 15.7% of the Maltese population are vulnerable to poverty. According to the NSO, in 2013 some 1,600 households do not even have a bathroom or shower. Some 75% of the total population cannot even afford to heat their houses in winter, despite the fact that nearly all households are extremely humid.
These figures are shocking, since Malta is considered to be a developed nation. However, what makes matters worse is that some proposals have been made to increase the salary of MPs. The proposal set out by a committee appointed by the government suggested that these wages should double.
While nearly 1/7 of Maltese citizens are highly vulnerable to poverty, ministers are expected to get drastic wage increases.
Is that fair? The rich become richer, while to poor become poorer. Poverty should be reduced and ministers should better think of how to tackle this problem, rather than discussing higher wages for themselves.
On January 4th 2015, 3 hunters were caught shooting illegally in Marsascala. Their target species was a Shelduck. Apart from shooting illegally on a protected species, the hunters were also using illegal electronic lures.
It is disappointing to see that such illegal activities are still widespread across the island. Several such incidents are reported every year and target species range from common birds such as Barn Swallows to rare birds such as Short-toed Eagles or the White Stork.
The Common Shelduck is listed as protected and is a scarce but regular visitor to the Maltese Islands. It breeds in Europe and North and Central Asia. This bird migrates and winters in the southern parts of North Africa.
ADZ Malta Green Youth condemns such illegal practices and we urge that legal actions are taken immediately and that criminals are prosecuted. Hunters can legally hunt 41 bird species for 5 months, which is the autumn hunting season, and there is no reason, whatsoever to shoot additional protected species. We hope to see more enforcement and that more spot checks and done by the Wild Birds Regulation Unit. We also hope that illegal hunting will decline in future and that harsher penalties are imposed on illegal hunting practices.
Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)