WATCH: Ciccio Kayak in Malta to give a helping hand in cleaning Manoel Island

In a period of five days, 15 tonnes of waste were collected, including many tyres, in an activity linked to World Clean Up Day.

The event held on the initiative of the Gzira local council also saw the participation of the Italian environmentalist Francesco Tocco, known for his voluntary work with the World Wildlife Fund.

Tocco, better known as Ciccio Kayak, is a very active volunteer from Terrasini which is on the Sicilian coast, and is a member of the World Wildlife Fund. His 20 year passion for the kayak has transformed itself into a mission for coastal cleanups.

“I discovered the kayak by coincidence at the age of 13, then when I started going out along the Sicilian coast I realised that there was a lot of waste, and I start collecting it and bringing it to shore,  and that’s when I realised I was on a mission,” said Tocco.

He described it as heartbreaking that so many people litter, a problem which one finds everywhere, not just in Malta. He also mentioned that his desire to work in favour of a clean environment continued to grow after the death of his sister Seffy, after whom he named a kayak.

“Seffy is in my heart – unfortunately I lost her because of a tumour two and a half years ago, and the tumour was caused by pollution. that is what has pushed me to fight against pollution and always carry my sister with me.”

Another important partner every time he does clean ups in Sicily is his dog, Astra, who is of great help to Francesco. He says that every animal gets used to a clean environment which is important for our health, and even humans should recognise this concept. Malta remains in his heart and he will be taking mementos of historical buildings back to Sicily.

“I have been mesmerised by Malta and the Grand Harbour. Malta has made me dream, I felt like a character out of Troy, or the  Gladiator… Malta is very beautiful,” said Tocco.

After contacting Francesco Tocco, the Gzira Mayor, Conrad Borg Manche included him in World Clean Up Day at Manoel Island.

“Over the last 40 years, we polluted the world..in just 40 years. Every person needs to do their part. If you throw away a bit of plastic on the road this will eventually end up in the seas, and I believe that every person should do their part so that ultimately we can reverse the damage we have caused,” he pointed out.

The clean-up, which was organised by Żibel, a voluntary organisation known for the work it is doing, took five days and involved 40 people.