Research conducted both locally and internationally is making it increasingly clear that the quality of the environment is a key determiner of people’s wellbeing, President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said today.
She was delivering the opening speech during the second national conference on wellbeing ‘Environmental Health and Wellbeing’ organised at Verdala Palace by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.
She said research indicated that living in environments which were compromised by pollution could reduce the standard of wellbeing.
The President noted that younger generations were deeply aware of the need for greater emphasis to be placed on securing environmental health.
The younger generations had become very vocal about their concerns, regarding the effect of the environment on their health. The foundation’s research, she said, clearly showed that pollution and traffic density were among the key factors which suppressed wellbeing in the Maltese Islands.
“The loss of our open spaces, in both rural and urban areas, is a social, as well as, an environmental challenge. This loss poses the very real risk that we could lose those precious places where we can, together:
- Form strong and resilient communities
- Build relationships, and
- Feel connected to our environmental heritage and to one another”, she said.
President Coleiro Preca said that the loss of green spaces because of construction, over-development and traffic, implied that more had to be done to ensure that the long-term health and sustainable wellbeing of the individual, the family and the community were kept at the heart of the national agenda.
She no ted that, until now, there was little investment in research which raised awareness and promoted responses to this issue and its implications on human health. Traffic, construction and certain high-powered industries were all contributing to a situation which, according to the Noise Abatement Society, created adverse effects to health and wellbeing.