Review and assessment of air quality, particularly in urban areas is a necessary first step towards the management of air quality. Air quality management is important to make sure that the air quality objectives are achieved. If the competent authority finds any places where the objectives are not likely to be achieved, it must declare the area in question as being in need of continued Air Quality Management.
Due to non-compliance with PM10 thresholds, MEPA is in the process of drafting an air quality plan for the Maltese Islands. The Authority launched a public consultation exercise in May 2009. Given that national monitoring data clearly identifies the transport sector as the major contributor to air pollution mainly from exhaust emissions, tyre and break abrasion and the re-suspension of dust that had previously settled on the roads, MEPA in conjunction with Malta Transport Authority (ADT) have launched a draft plan that specifically proposes traffic measures. This document was issued for public consultation in September by the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications. This plan will form part of the holistic Air Quality Plan for the Maltese Islands. The proposed Air Quality Plan for the Maltese Islands will outline policy measures to address man-made pollution sources, namely in the sectors of transport, power generation, construction and small industry. This document will also include the MEPA/ADT approved traffic measures and the suggestions it received from the first phase of public consultation.
The Authority is publishing a summary of the suggestions that were received during the Phase 1 of the public consultation together with the proposed traffic measures that were published at the end of September.
Policies and measures are not only necessary from the point of view of local air quality, but also in respect of national emissions. The National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive (2001/81/EC) sets out national emission ceilings for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonia and non-methane volatile organic compounds in kilotonnes of pollutant to be achieved by Malta by 2010. The environmental objectives of the NEC Directive are to combat acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone.
The policies and measures necessary to implement this directive are strongly linked to plans and programmes to reduce air pollution in specific areas, especially where exceedances are recorded.