As waste material continues to be dumped in bays and on shores during the swimming season, it also appears to be decreasing with Environment Ministry officials note an improvement when compared to last year. However, this cannot be said to the amount of cigarette butts being dumped in bays as within an hour’s time, over one kilogram of these butts were collected from the small bay of Kalkara.
Joseph Magro is a frequent snorkeler at the Rinella bay, mostly not to admire the fauna of the seabed but to retrieve waste material that persons irresponsibly dump at the area with a great damage to the eco-system and sea life.
Mr Magro was collecting bottles and drink containers when workers and officers from the Environment Ministry secretariat took the initiative to spend half a day cleaning the Kalkara bay as part of the “Saving Our Blue’ campaign, which is in its second year. The workers collected a large amount of waste from the beach and shore.
The Ministry assistant principal Ramona Borg said “although we are seeing progress each year, today we collected a kilogram of cigarette butts within an hour. It is important that during the summer season and while organising BBQs we use alternatives to plastic used only once, such as cups and utensils and other reusable things”.
Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said that the sea and shores are part of everyone’s heritage which we need to protect for our future generations. “We came here together in this bay and collected a lot of material which can easily end up at sea and remain for scores of years to disintegrate”.
Plastic is the waste material which mostly endangers species and life at sea. Each year, some 26 million tons of plastic waste are generated in Europe. Figures by the National Statistics Office show that in Malta, within a period of four years, this waste decreased by half – from almost 2,000 tons in 2013 to a 1,000 tons in 2017.