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EPD enquiriesDuring 2010,, an email service managed by the Environment Directorate within MEPA, continued with its efforts to offer an efficient and effective response in dealing with environment related enquiries and requests for information. OUTLOOK finds out how the service can be of use to the general public.

It is a known fact that the Maltese population over the past few years has made environmental matters high on their list of priorities. With this change it attitude, the Authority has introduced a centralised email enquiry service to cater and address the growing demand for environment related information or queries. The steady flow of requests were mainly submitted by NGOs, private companies, local councils, residents and even foreign companies interested in investing in Malta.

Requests ranged from reports asking MEPA to monitor and take the necessary action regarding off-roading events in Malta and Gozo to a foreign company asking for information about flood mapping in Malta in the light of the EU Flood Directive. There were also questions from students asking for information for their dissertations and from the press asking for various clarifications.

Queries on biodiversity were among the most voluminous. Rubble walls, trapping, hunting, GMOs and all sorts of species featured in database of queries replied to in one year. People were interested in whether and how Malta would celebrate biodiversity year in 2010, and subsequently how they could join in on the various biodiversity tours that took place. There were even requests for information on the importation of kangaroo derived products. Questions on GMOs included one from a journalist asking whether a ban exists on cultivating GM crops in Malta.

Questions on waste included one on whether certain streams of waste could be mixed with the others, what permits are needed to export waste, prices for tires, waste oil, plastic, slaughterhouse waste, clinic waste and household waste, as well as reports of illegal dumping of construction waste.

Several queries related to air quality made reference to the issue of black dust, sampling procedures, and policies and measures to tackle this. There were a number of other air quality related questions related to grit blasting and pollen.

Many of the queries were related to nuisance, particularly from dust and noise caused by construction works. These are referred to the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs. This was not the only category of enquiries to be referred to other entities, as other similar queries were redirected to the Malta Resources Authority, the Police, the Department of Environmental Health, the Malta Standards Authority and Local Councils.