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The project organisers were astonished to learn that the Gozitan students had a lot they wanted to get off their chest. Photo: Steve Zammit Lupi

Gozitan youths mostly concerned about environment, study reveals

Study carried out among 800 students from Gozo’s secondary and post-secondary schools

The biggest issue on young people’s minds in Gozo is the environment, according to a study conducted among 800 students.

They want to see more environmental protection, more trees and green spaces, cleaner air and sea, less construction of ‘flats’, improved public infrastructure and more walking paths, cycle lanes and access for alternative means of mobility.

The results emerged from around 1,100 ideas gathered from among 800 students during a series of workshops in all of Gozo’s secondary and post-secondary schools a few months ago.

Almost a third ‒ 32 per cent ‒  of students were concerned with environmental issues, 30 per cent were worried about Gozo’s limits to lifestyle and 29 per cent complained about old infrastructure. Three per cent cited problems in the arts and culture sector, another three per cent in education and another three per cent in connectivity.

As part of the Gozo Regional Council’s project Idea għal Għawdex (An Idea for Gozo), students were asked to discuss what they would do differently to improve the quality of life in Gozo and the project organisers were astonished to learn that they had a lot they wanted to get off their chest.

Some even suggested holding local council members to account for not working in the best interest of the people. Others called for more meetings to be held between the authorities and young people so that the needs of youths are not overlooked.

The ideas were then passed on to the mayors of each locality, who are being urged to implement as many of them as they can.

The Gozo Regional Council said it felt it was time to launch the initiative to boost social dialogue among young people and to foster their involvement in politics, art and culture. It said it wanted to urge them to play a more active role in finding realistic and practical solutions to Gozo’s problems and to create a sense of community and belonging in villages.

Gozo’s youths are not the only ones concerned over environmental destruction.

In October 2021, researchers revealed that schoolchildren in Malta had expressed their concerns over the environment and unsustainability and said they wanted to be involved in decision-making.

Later that year, another study indicated that children overwhelmingly said they would like to see more safe spaces and green areas where they can practise physical activities and sport.

But researchers also reported a sense of resignation among children, with one girl remarking: “We’re all saying that, to reduce traffic, we have to use the bus. But that’s all talk, no action… How are we going to change the mentality of the people? If you tell them that it is global warming, they won’t care. Every child cannot brainwash their parents.”

Article Source: Times of Malta