The Malta Independent 23 May 2024, Thursday
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Saving Our Blue campaign introduces innovative VR experiences and online games

Friday, 9 June 2023, 08:47 Last update: about 13 months ago

Environment Minister Miriam Dalli launched the fifth edition of the environmental campaign Saving Our Blue to continue raising awareness about the devastating impacts of marine litter on our seas and the importance of reducing waste, especially single-use plastics.

During the campaign launch, attendees had the opportunity to try out an innovative Saving Our Blue Virtual Reality (VR) experience bringing them closer to the marine life of different areas of ecological importance in Maltese waters, as well as educational online games on marine litter and waste separation.

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Besides these new interactive tools aimed at younger generations, the campaign will also target other demographics and different stakeholders, including NGOs, the private sector and public entities, with different initiatives.

Between 150,000 and 500,00 tonnes of the 25 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste generated in Europe every year ends up in the sea, threatening our marine and coastal environments. The Saving our Blue campaign highlights the impacts of single-use plastic on marine life, while encouraging people to become more sustainable by choosing reusable products and reducing plastic waste in all daily activities.

Last year Malta became one of the first EU countries to ban single-use plastic products, such as plastic bags and cutlery.

During the campaign launch, Environment Minister Miriam Dalli encouraged the public to strive to reduce single-use plastics from their daily routines and replace them with reusable alternatives.

"A survey conducted by the National Statistics Office in collaboration with Saving Our Blue issued earlier this week shows that 62% of people in Malta try to avoid plastic packaging, while 63% choose reusable shopping bags and containers. This is a very encouraging result of campaigns such as Saving our Blue, as well as important policy decisions that Malta is taking, including the banning of single-use plastics and the recent mandatory waste separation regulations. We need to continue working together towards more sustainable lifestyles, with increased emphasis on environment protection, decarbonisation, and waste reduction," Minister Dalli said.

The new Saving Our Blue web app games use gaming technologies to demonstrate the negative impacts that littering and waste generation from our daily activities can have on marine life. The Saving Our Blue VR experience will immerse users in the ecosystems and biodiversity of some of the Maltese Islands’ Marine Protected Areas, including Ċirkewwa, Għajn Tuffieħa, the Imperial Eagle wreck area, Dwejra, Stokers Cave, Comino, and Ta’ Ċenċ. This experience aims to encourage users to take positive action towards the preservation of these pristine environments.

For the second consecutive year, Saving Our Blue installed ballot bins for cigarette butts at 53 locations on several beaches in Malta, Gozo and Comino. Each bin has an environmentally themed question and two answers.  By depositing cigarette butts in the slots underneath the preferred reply, one can help reduce marine litter while participating in an opinion poll. The cigarette butts deposited in each slot will be measured to measure the poll results, which will be announced at the end of summer.  

Individuals, businesses, NGOs, and other organisations interested in participating in this environmental campaign can reach out to the Ministry for the Environment on the Saving our Blue socials on Facebook and Instagram. The new online games and more information about this campaign are also available on www.savingourblue.gov.mt.

Representatives from Ambjent Malta, Project Green and Heritage Malta participated in the launching of Saving our Blue.

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