The Malta Independent 3 June 2020, Wednesday

Local clean-up groups, initiatives collected over 42 tonnes of waste this year

Helena Grech Wednesday, 27 December 2017, 10:18 Last update: about 3 years ago

Various local clean-up groups and initiatives have collected a staggering 42.14 tonnes of waste so far in 2017, with an additional 2,036 bags of waste collected during a national clean up day.

A total of 1 tonne of waste has been collected from the once pristine Paradise Bay alone, while 140kg of plastic has been cleared from Maltese waters over the summer thanks to a joint private initiative.

Groups such as Zibel and Malta Clean up, in collaboration with NGOs such as JCI Malta and Friends of the Earth Malta have had a busy year organising clean-ups across the entire island. The activities mainly included picking up litter sprawled across our coastlines and rural areas, as well as underwater clean-ups which ultimately protect Maltese marine life.

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When it comes to littering and cleanliness, Malta trails behind many other European cities. While Malta's beauty is undeniable, by the end of summer rubbish-bins are overflowing, residents do not dispose of their rubbish properly - leaving huge black garbage bags outside in the sun for a full day before being collected and so much gets washed into the surrounding seas when the stormy season commences. Malta has also been registered as the EU country which recycles the least waste at just 6.7 per cent.

As the economy continues to improve and more people move to Malta in order to live and work, the need to keep the island clean and punish those who litter has become all the more apparent.

The year 2017 saw two incredible groups - Zibel and Malta Clean up taking things to the next level, with roughly 30 clean-ups being organised organised this year alone.

One national clean-up organised by Malta Clean up together with JCI Malta saw dozens of foreign nationals residing in the sunny island taking part, with barely any Maltese people to be seen. Malta Clean up has been organising clean-up activities since 2012 under the guidance of Swedish national Camilla Appelgren, while the eNGO called Zibel was launched in March 2017.

Despite the larger participation of foreign nationals, Appelgren told this newsroom that the first official member to join the group, apart from herself and her children, was a Maltese woman who still participates to this very day.

Malta is more biologically diverse then some would think, and issues such as overdevelopment and failure to respect ODZ boundaries has placed added pressure on maintaining and caring for the precious natural resources and landscapes the public has left to enjoy.

This year also saw an explosion of people illegally dumping bulky waste in fields and the countryside, despite their being bulky refuse drop-off sites as well as Local Council collection services. Therefore, it can be said that environmental awareness is indeed growing however the more people coming to the island the more important it is for environmental respect and enforcement.

Of interest is the role commercial entities are taking in the fight against pollution, such as 140kg of plastic collected from the seas by a 'Clean the seas' initiatives organised by an online gaming company called Mr Green in collaboration with the University of Malta.

Malta Clean up took care of collecting upwards of 22 tonnes of waste during 19 clean-up activities (half went to recycling and half to a landfill) and collected a further 2,036 bags of waste during a national clean-up it organised jointly with JCI Malta.

Zibel collected upwards of 30 tonnes of waste across Malta's beaches, coastline and seas. The group has organised one last clean-up for the year following many storms which resulted in massive amounts of litter being washed out to sea. The clean-up will be an underwater one taking place this Saturday. More details can be found on its Facebook page and any interested divers and snorkelers are encouraged to attend.

 

 


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