Cleanups around Malta have recently been providing us with some very shocking sights from around the island. Just two weeks ago, a group of volunteers stumbled upon 667 syringes in a grove in Floriana. During a similar initiative organised yesterday morning, the same group stumbled upon the remains of a sick animal in Żebbug… along with medicine dating back nearly a whole decade.
“No words,” Malta Clean Up founder and organiser Camilla Appelgren said as she shared the photos of the morning’s findings on the online community. The skeleton, which appears to be that of a horse, was found on public land in the Ta’ Għaqba area in Żebbuġ, a couple of metres away from the road. “The smell when the animal was dumped must’ve been out of this world,” Camilla told Lovin Malta.
An IV medical drip and bag were also found next to the remains, with the bag dating all the way back to September 2009. “I doubt the batch number is easily trackable after 10 years, but let’s see,” Camilla said.
The group of 10 volunteers who came across the carcass are only a small part of the Malta Clean Up community, which meets up every two weeks to clear up different areas.
“I thought we couldn’t match the nearly 700 syringes from the last cleanup, but we apparently could, instantly,” Camilla told Lovin Malta. “Medicine bottles next to the drip were also dated from 2009.”
Even though the animal carcass was fond on public land, the law stipulates that for reasons of health and hygiene, dead animals should be taken to the abattoir. Unfortunately, an occurrence like this seems to be more common than one would expect.
“I find a lot in Gozo,” one person commented on Camilla’s photos on Sunday. “Cats, dogs, rabbits, cows… a lot of goats, once in a whole valley. I never found a horse, but a lot of dogs and sheep. Today I found two more dogs and one sheep.”
The person went on to recount how, most of the time, the only ‘precaution’ people dumping these carcasses would take is to put them in plastic bags. “I’d be taking the bag out of the place to dispose of it, then realise after why it was smelling so bad if the plastic tears and the bones fall out,” she said. “I even scared a little girl last month when she was curious to see me collecting rubbish and came to help. She ended up finding the skull of a big dog. It’s not always easy here.”
While the sick horse’s carcass was definitely the most shocking discovery of yesterday’s cleanup, it was by far not the only one. Some 19 heavy bags of rubbish, along with a number of pesticides, were collected by the end of the morning cleanup, with an estimated combined weight of about 400 kg of waste.