Buskett is one of the few woodland areas in Malta, which makes it a popular site for picnicking and perhaps the occasional walk. But the area is also the habitat for a number of species, some rare, some even indigenous to the Buskett and Girgenti environs. Unfortunately, the habitats could soon be in danger, one of the main reasons being soil erosion. This is why a project entitled Life Saving Buskett is under way.
Life Saving Buskett is a project part-financed by the European Union Life+ calls created by the Parks department within the Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change.
A recent World Health Organisation study defined air pollution as the world’s “single biggest environmental health risk”. The report finds that air pollution has killed around seven million people, in both cities and rural areas, thus causing almost one in eight deaths in the world in 2012.
The statistics are abnormally and worryingly high for Malta. According to Eurostat, more than 40 per cent of the population in Malta complains about air quality compared to the European average of 15 per cent.
What is most aggravating is that even more than passive smoking, air pollution is not a lifestyle choice. A study on the effect of particle matters on the residents of Fgura and Zejtun, conducted by Martin Balzan and Jason Bonnici, describes air pollution as, “a ubiquitous involuntary environmental exposure, which can affect 100 per cent of the population, from womb to death”.
One day, Joe Sciberras and his young son were picking strawberries from their field. When they were ready, the father warned his son to wash the strawberries before eating them to get rid of the toxins. To this, his son replied: “We know we need to wash our fruit, but what about people who don’t know and are eating the fruit without washing it properly?”
“That was my wake-up call to switch to organic farming,” says Sciberras, recalling the incident that happened some 10 years ago. Never keen on using too many pesticides, Sciberras decided to make the switch to organic farming.
Having completed the necessary certification, Sciberras started making the necessary changes to go organic. After around two years, he was audited and deemed a certified organic farmer.