Environmental health inequalities in Malta. Assessment Report (2013)




It is well recognised that the unequal distribution of people’s exposure to environmental conditions and the potential of resulting disease is strongly related to a range of socio-demographic determinants, such as unemployment, low levels of education and income, household characteristics, and the marginalization of disadvantaged groups. The environmental health inequalities that arise from these disparities make environmental conditions one of the mechanisms linking social determinants with health outcomes.

This report presents the first national assessment of the magnitude and distribution of environmental health inequalities in the Maltese Islands, and responds to the commitments made at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Parma, Italy in 2010.

The assessment report is based on a set of 14 core inequality indicators related to housing, injuries and the environment developed by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. National data has provided a good snapshot of the current distribution of environmental risk factors, indicating that environmental health inequalities are a reality in Malta. However, further detailed information is still needed to enable in-depth assessments of the distribution of environmental exposures and outcomes and more reliable identification of the most vulnerable population groups.

Intersectoral collaboration by ministries and other entities to mitigate and reduce risk exposure in the most affected populations is required for coordinated targeted interventions focusing on the most exposed or vulnerable risk groups. Universal actions to improve the general environment for all are also necessary.