The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

We all need a cleaner Malta

Malta Independent Friday, 1 August 2014, 07:55 Last update: about 7 years ago



Malta is a unique destination, slap bang in the middle of the Mediterranean. Culture, history and architecture abounds. But we also supplement it with our welcoming attitude towards tourists and our ability to communicate in virtually any language that we come into contact with.

We also have plenty of sun, some of the cleanest bathing waters in the world, dive sites, beaches and good old night-time entertainment.

But one of our biggest failures is the cleanliness, or lack thereof, on our islands – particularly Malta. We have improved, but one of our major problems is littering. People still think nothing of just throwing away sweet wrappers, fast food packaging and cigarettes. And it makes our country look shabby. If one were to log into Tripadvisor – the traveller’s bible – many of the negative comments are in relation to the poor state of cleanliness that tourists encounter in Malta.

The Infrastructure Ministry recently announced that it had purchased €300,000 worth of cleaning equipment, had employed 70 additional workers and had spent some €100,000 on new waste disposal bins to be placed around Malta.

But there is so much more to do. We live in a country where we have day to day rubbish collection, recycling collections twice a week, bring in sites, civil amenity sites and a free bulky refuse service where you can call, book an appointment and have an item removed from your home... yet people still decide to dump anything from mattresses to fridges on roadside lanes. When you think that it is easier to dispose of such items correctly than actually dump them, it raises serious questions about some people’s mindsets.

Southern Mediterranean islands and countries on the south of the continent all suffer from the same problem. But if we are honest with ourselves, as a people, is it because the infrastructure and services are lacking, or is it our own inherent collective disregard for looking after our immediate surroundings? The answer would probably be the latter. But while many people only see the tip of the iceberg, there is a greater problem and that, is dumping at sea. The diving community has long been trying to raise the issue. Many clubs organise cleanups of the sea bed every year before and after summer. The results are often frightening. Gearboxes, car tyres, furniture, batteries, fishing debris, contaminated masonry and all sorts of other pollutants are dragged off the sea bed to be disposed of in the proper manner. We really need to get our act together. While it is always pertinent to point out that tourism is our lifeblood, we should also have a bit more respect for ourselves as inhabitants of these islands and look after them more. Perhaps the wardens should be given a good talk and told to watch out for litter bugs and issue on the spot fines whenever they come across a transgression.

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