Traf­fic and en­vi­ron­ment con­cerns for univer­sity stu­dents

Malta Independent - - BUDGET 2017 - Ju­lian Bon­nici

The gen­eral feel­ing amongst univer­sity stu­dents fol­low­ing Mon­day’s Bud­get 2017 pre­sen­ta­tion is that whilst the gov­ern­ment was keen to help the vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of so­ci­ety, they failed to ad­dress the traf­fic sit­u­a­tion and en­vi­ron­ment prop­erly.

The traf­fic prob­lem was clearly a hot but­ton is­sue for the univer­sity stu­dents the Malta In­de­pen­dent spoke to. A ma­jor­ity ex­pressed dis­dain at the amount of time they spend in traf­fic in the morn­ing on their way to a lecture, with a ma­jor­ity say­ing that they have to leave home at least an hour be­fore their lectures be­gin at 8am.

A 19 year old male law stu­dent jok­ingly re­marked that he would have never got his driv­ing li­cense if he knew it meant that he would be stuck in traf­fic half of the time. He then said that he feels like noth­ing con­crete is be­ing done to tackle the sit­u­a­tion.

The ini­tia­tive which will see peo­ple who turn 18 in 2007 be given a year of free pub­lic trans­port was met with mixed re­ac­tions. A large num­ber of the stu­dents, even though they will not ben­e­fit from the ser­vice, praised the gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tion to get young peo­ple to use the bus far more of­ten.

A 23 year old fe­male stu­dent from At­tard pointed out, that most of them felt that the ini­tia­tive should have been ex­tended to all stu­dents in sec­ondary and ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

This she said would cer­tainly help with the traf­fic prob­lem Malta is fac­ing to­day, since a ma­jor­ity of univer­sity stu­dents would use the bus in­stead of their cars; she also won­dered why the ini­tia­tive was di­rected at in­di­vid­u­als who may not even have their driv­ing li­censes un­til the end of that year. The en­vi­ron­ment was another is­sue of con­cern for the stu­dents, with a ma­jor­ity of them plac­ing a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in the lack of pub­lic space, pedes­tri­anised zones, and over devel­op­ment.

A 22 year old fe­male com­merce stu­dent from Birkirkara said that she would have liked to see the gov­ern­ment take greater ini­tia­tive in pro­tect­ing pub­lic land and in­vest heav­ily in its con­ver­sion to large pub­lic spa­ces. She used Ma­noel Is­land, White Rocks and Jerma Ho­tel as ex­am­ples of oc­ca­sions were the gov­ern­ment should in­ter­vene and in­vest to make pub­lic parks which the whole com­mu­nity can en­joy.

The stu­dents did praise the gov­ern­ment’s ini­tia­tives in­volv­ing so­lar pan­els, say­ing that greener en­ergy was the way for­ward. With re­gards to the LNG Tanker based in Marsaskala bay, a num­ber of them seemed to be con­tent with the gov­ern­ment’s fo­cus on in­tro­duc­ing cleaner en­ergy to Malta, but also ex­pressed con­cerns re­gard­ing safety and the lack of trans­parency in the pro­ject.

A 21 year old male stu­dent read­ing English, com­plained mainly about the lack of re­duc­tion in wa­ter and elec­tric­ity bills. He said, that as a stu­dent who also works and lives alone, a re­duc­tion would have helped him out sig­nif­i­cantly, re­mark­ing that he ex­pected some­thing to change fol­low­ing the gov­ern­ment’s claims of the eco­nomic boom the coun­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing at the mo­ment.

The stu­dents also jok­ingly com­plained about the usual in­crease in the cost of to­bacco and al­co­hol, with one man say­ing that “It felt like the gov­ern­ment was on a mis­sion to stop stu­dents hav­ing fun”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.