The Malta Independent 23 May 2024, Thursday
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TMID Editorial: Cleanups and caring for our environment

Friday, 2 June 2023, 11:19 Last update: about 13 months ago

The government, together with Project Green and Saving Our Blue, launched Islands Cleanup this week, which is the third edition of the national cleanup campaign inviting businesses, NGOs and other organisations to come together and participate in clean-ups in different coastal sites and valleys.

This cleanup initiative is organised each year to raise public awareness about the need to protect valleys, coastal and marine habitats, and other sites of natural importance, while encouraging government entities, voluntary organisations, and the private sector to contribute to the national effort for a greener, cleaner environment, the environment ministry said. Clean-ups organised as part of the Islands Cleanup will see all waste collected separated on site, “to make sure that all recyclable materials are processed for recycling."

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Through this initiative, companies, schools, NGOs or other groups can choose a beach or a valley cleanup, with the support of the Saving our Blue initiative and Project Green, and they will be given all the necessary equipment, the government had said. “During the past years, together we managed to collect more than 2,500 tonnes of waste from our natural environments.”

It is a good initiative, one that promotes a cleaner Malta. There are organisations in this country that organise such clean-ups voluntarily throughout the year, and have been doing so for years. To all those volunteers who have taken part in such clean-up activities, thankyou.

Organising such clean-ups also helps raise awareness against littering and illegal dumping. It must be said, however, that the face that such clean-ups need to be organised in the first place means that there are still plenty of litter bugs on the island. We cannot stress enough just how important it is to dispose of trash properly, preferably recycling items that are recyclable.

When it comes to heavy tourist areas, there must be adequate numbers of waste disposal bins that are frequently emptied, and clear signage and campaigns to ensure that as much litter as possible is disposed of correctly. Plastic on beaches for instance can end up in the sea and hurt wildlife.

It is easy for a sea turtle, for instance, to get trapped in some plastic. It is easy for fish to ingest plastic also.

At the end of the day, a clean country is also more appealing for tourism, thus it also makes sense economically to keep our streets and green areas as clean as possible.

Malta already has aesthetic problems thanks to poor planning policies and a lack of planning by the responsible authorities, resulting in ugly building designs and crammed urban areas. Let’s make sure that this is not compounded by litter in public areas.

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