President of Malta George Vella expressed his hope that we will one day understand that the natural environment is a resource in itself – a resource which is not infinite. Speaking at the Buonamico Award 2021 ceremony organised by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) at Sant’Anton Palace under his auspices, the President warned that, if we do not take care of the natural environment, soon our children and their children will be the ones suffering the consequences of our actions.
Each year the Buonamico Award pays tribute to those individuals whose actions and achievements benefited our biodiversity and the environment.
Expressing his desire that we always act as guardians for future generations, the President emphasised once again the need for sustainable development. Continuous education for all ages on this subject is key to continue raising awareness and to learn to live in harmony with the natural environment around us. He recalled how, given the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw very clearly that, where aggressive human activity had ceased, new life was breathed into nature, and it started regenerating itself. We began to really appreciate our natural environment, which was the only place where we could find relief during the restrictions. “Thus, we should ensure that this invaluable heritage does not continue being eroded and worsen. I am very worried about the fact that agricultural land is being bought by families to serve as recreational land. What the reasons and implications of this are still needs to be seen,” the President said
The Head of State congratulated the ERA for organising the Buonamico Award for another year to show appreciation to two people who have distinguished themselves in the field of research, safeguarding, and rehabilitation of the natural environment of our country. He also congratulated this year’s winners; Costantino Mifsud, who due to his extensive research is contributing greatly to the field of taxonomy in our country, and Louis Vella, who has made a very valuable contribution in terms of various national strategies on pollution, especially air pollution and pollution and hazardous waste produced by industries.
“Both Mr Vella and Mr Mifsud have worked in areas where their research subject or work is done almost behind the scenes. This does not mean that it does not exist or is not important. On the contrary, they have often been pioneers in imparting knowledge about our natural heritage. They played a vital role in raising awareness on the damage caused by the negative impact that environmental pollution leaves both on the quality of life of citizens and on our country’s natural heritage,” the President said.
Since Louis Vella could not be present, his award was picked up by a family member on his behalf. Meanwhile, to mark this occasion, the ERA made a donation in aid of The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation.