Taking care of the environment and our livelihood
The world’s population will soon reach the eight billion mark. This translates into the disposal of eight billion single-use items. The need to do something on this issue is critical.
Using a private car for personal mobility is a similar case. Fortunately, or not, depending on one’s perspective, not everyone has the same level of access to motorized transport. Those with a high level of access pollute the most. We remember that Malta is one of these countries.
All the above come at a price. A cost, among others, to the economy that wants to manage waste, water supply (that is expensive) through reverse osmosis and traffic management as the demand is increasing. Finally, the last price is addressed to our health and well-being. Inhabitants living in cities will be negatively affected by unsustainable practices, with the most disadvantaged bearing the heaviest burden as they cannot afford to buy the best products, have access to the best medical care or to move to cleaner locations when pollution and waste become unbearable.
Local studies have already estimated the costs of unsustainable practices in some sectors. It turns out that external costs related to air pollution, adaptation to climate change, accidents, noise and congestion resulting from the use of commercial vehicles and private cars, have reached the estimate of €274 million in 2012. These were estimated to increase to €317 million by the end of this year. Other studies carried out in the health sector have estimated that almost 600 people die prematurely every year in Malta and this from diseases related to pollution. This environmental impact has repercussions on the economy and on our society.
We need to change our mindset and think of well-being as a fairer and more equitable indicator of growth rather than a simple increase in the Gross Domestic Product. If we use well-being as our yardstick, then each and every one of us can consider ourselves as active contributors to sustainable development.
Industry has a responsibility towards sustainability. This can range from simple individual measures to corporate social responsibility obligations. Ultimately, they all serve the same purpose: to ensure a fairer world for us and others and those who will come after us.