Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia, together with Minister for Education and Employment Owen Bonnici, announced the end of the 2020 summer edition of the Saving Our Blue campaign, through the organisation of four concurrent clean-ups held at Golden Bay, Għadira Bay, Pretty Bay and St George’s Bay.
During a visit to the volunteers on the respective beaches, Minister Farrugia explained that this marine litter campaign was launched with the aim of engaging the general public, NGOs and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic litter. “For the second consecutive year, the ministry continued with the campaign by seeking to address the main causes of the problem through educating and engaging citizens, collaborating with NGOs and the private sector, and upholding a unified call to action that can support national movements to influence change”, stated the minister.
Apart from the clean-ups, the Saving our Blue campaign also collaborated with the National Literacy Agency within the Ministry for Education and Employment, to raise further understanding of the repercussions of single-use plastic and marine litter amongst the younger generation. This was achieved through the organisation of a writing competition on environmental aspects and marine pollution for four different student age categories.
Minister Owen Bonnici said that, “thanks to such initiatives we are seeing a change where environmental learning is stronger nowadays. As time goes on, we are becoming more aware of the environment around us and how to safeguard its beauty and cleanliness. We are raising our children to be more knowledgeable and educated in terms of keeping our country as clean as possible.”
The clean-ups were part of an international effort to clean up the world as part of the celebrations for World Clean-up Day. Through this effort society groups, NGOs and individuals were brought together to create a national movement, to raise awareness on the issue of marine litter and the impact that single-use plastics have on the global marine environment.
Minister Farrugia said that government is investing in an unprecedented way in Malta’s waste management infrastructure, and that people have already started to implement positive changes to their lifestyles. He said that the Sort it Out campaign reaped positive results but that the time has come to double the success we have achieved so far in order to achieve our targets.
Organisations, groups, and entities that joined the initiative included: Ambjent Malta, Environment and Resources Agency, WasteServ, Planning Authority, Resource Recovery and Recycling Agency, Nature Trust, Birdlife Malta, Funds and Programmes Division – Parliamentary Secretariat for European Funds, Archdiocese of Malta, BetPoint, Mellieħa Local Council, Birżebbuga Local Council, National Literacy Agency, Junior Chamber of Advocates, Għaqda Studenti tal-Liġi, Miss Malta, Malta Football Association, OzoGroup, FreeHour, and No to Litter Mellieħa. An additional dive clean-up was also organised on the day thanks to the effort of the NGO #Żibel.
The Ministry for the Environment Climate Change and Planning has carried out several other clean-ups at different beaches during the summer, in particular at Ramla Bay (Gozo), Rinella Bay, Golden bay, Għajn Tuffieħa (Riviera) and Pretty Bay. With this, the total amount of waste collected in 2020 through the Saving Our Blue campaign amounts to 4,250kg. Today, 150kg of waste was collected from beaches.