Despite the acute overpopulation problem being faced by the Maltese Islands, there are indications that the situation could be getting even worse. The alarm bells are being sounded in a study carried out by waste management agency Wasteserv which is warning that the country’s infrastructure will be stretched even further. Such concern is being raised on the strength of conservative estimates being made by the Malta Tourism Authority, which is forecasting that by 2030, inbound tourism will reach three million a year. What is even more worrying is the fact that on average tourists produce nearly double the amount of household waste generated by Maltese residents.

If this is not scary enough, there have even been suggestions that we should aim even higher, as according to a study by Deloitte, Malta would have to attract 4.7 million tourists annually to make best use of the existing and planned stock of hotel beds.

Back to the present situation, there is ample evidence already that our quality of life is taking a hit due to the sharp increase in population. Unfortunately, Malta’s roads are turning into permanent gridlock throughout the day not just rush hours. Commuting even short distances has become a nightmare. Moreover, huge infrastructural projects to widen roads and construct flyovers are not serving their purpose but barely shifting the congestion a short distance away. Meanwhile, the situation at the Maghtab landfill is not getting any better with more and more land being taken up to accommodate the mixed waste or else keep going higher with the result of making the existing eyesore worse.

In this context it would be madness to keep forging ahead and ignoring the impact which the sharp increase in population is having on our everyday life. Unfortunately, though we have been hearing for years on the need to go for upmarket tourism, we are still catering for the masses and not so much on quality. At this rate, we might end up losing everything, as the existing patterns of growth are threatening the environment and our basic essential needs. Who would be going on holiday to a place where traffic is a nightmare, cost of living is high, filth due to an unsustainable waste management infrastructure. It is hight time politicians, decision makers, social partners and citizens in general realise that if we keep driving full speed ahead in the current direction we will sooner or later hit a brick wall.  We all know how a  high-speed collision ends. The only option is to avoid it in the first place.