The deficit facing our country is not just a fiscal one. It is also a social and ecological one. The Finance Minister addresses the fiscal deficit and with various measures tries to address the social deficit. The ecological deficit is however very rarely mentioned.
We have just been informed that the enormous tunnels constructed as part of the storm water management plan is on target and that Malta will soon be dumping a substantial part of our rainwater directly into the sea. For a country which lacks water resources this is suicidal.
Yet it is being carried out. EU funding for the project was also approved notwithstanding that dumping such large quantities of rainwater into the sea is anything but sustainable.
The pre-budget document published by the Minister of Finance in September ignores completely the ecological deficit. Now the Hon Minister is aware that ignoring the ecological deficit does not make it disappear. It makes it worse as the message driven home by the pre-budget document is that there is nothing to worry about.
Water is not the only contributor to Malta’s ecological deficit. Waste management, air pollution, traffic management, biodiversity protection, land use planning, are other heavy contributors to the ecological deficit. I do not detect any keen interest in the matter at the Finance Ministry, as its main interest seems to be the construction industry which is being further encouraged, thereby increasing the ecological deficit by design. With such a limited vision it is no wonder that the ecological deficit did not make it to the pre-budget document.