The Malta Independent 27 May 2019, Monday

Ready to run the #WaveOfChange

Thursday, 18 April 2019, 11:03 Last update: about 2 months ago

A long-distance run as part of the Run the #WaveofChange initiative will take place next week, aiming to raise awareness and help tackle the ever-growing problem of trash and plastic pollution.

The initiative, launched by running partners Trudy Kerr and Deborah Gatt, seeks to encourage people to collect waste, which would otherwise have ended up in the environment and the sea, through a series of long-distance runs around the Maltese Islands, including the race which was held yesterday.

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"The Run, which is technically three marathons, but we are calling it a run, starts and finishes at Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq," explains Gatt. "We left at 6pm yesterday and finish, all going well, today at around 3-4pm. We'll end with a big party at Atlam Sub Aqua Dive Club, where Matthew James, Kevin Paul Calleja, the Royals, Kersten Graham and Mykill will all be playing music sets to see us home," continues Kerr, best known as the voice of The Big Drive Home on XFM.

As Kerr and Gatt run the 126km Maltese coastline in the equivalent of three back-to-back marathons, their route will take them via ongoing clean-ups. Fellow runners, running groups, corporations and members of the public are welcome to join them as runners or by taking part in the clean-ups.

"Everyone is welcome: runners, helpers, clean-uppers and anyone who wants to come along," continues Trudy. "There will be live tracking on the day through the Facebook page, so you can see exactly where we are and come to cheer us on... just an encouraging word makes a massive difference! But above all, just pick up rubbish. This is the whole reason we have taken this campaign forward and will continue to do so. Every piece of rubbish makes a difference - whether you are picking it up or throwing it."

While there is no participation fee, interested people are asked to collect three pieces of rubbish and use the hashtag #WaveOfChange on social media prior to submitting their application. Those taking part in any of the seven run stages are also asked to collect another three pieces of rubbish at the end of the run, or join one of the eight exciting clean-ups en route which are detailed on the initiative's Facebook page, Run the #WaveofChange.

This fun event aims to raise awareness of the very serious problem of trash and plastic waste that is polluting the environment and the sea. Studies show that around eight million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually, with much having amalgamated into several "garbage patches", the smallest measuring 8,200 times the size of Malta. Since the most common pollutants, such as plastic bags, fishing gear and food and beverage containers, never fully degrade in the water, the amount of rubbish in international waters now poses serious risks for the planet, with the probability of fish becoming extinct by the year 2050 - in only 31 years' time.

Apart from the chance to help save the sea and its wildlife from plastic pollution, participants can also expect to receive some goodies along the run's route. "Everyone who runs with us will receive a goodie bag, water on the day and be part of the whole occasion - but runners need to apply since places are limited," explains Deborah.  

"Every participant of the eight clean-ups along the way will also get gloves, bags and water (although they should bring a refillable bottle as there will be no single use plastic on the day!) and everyone who takes part today gets a hot cross bun! Other than that, just bring yourself and the determination to make a difference."


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