Yesterday, Lovin Malta reported that, ahead of a free cleanup offered by volunteers for Earth Day, some of Malta’s local councils still hadn’t replied to emails from months back notifying them of the 22nd April activity. Now, however, it seems like pressure from the localities’ citizens has started to shift the tides.
Over the last couple of hours, Mġarr, Żabbar, Għajnsielem and Sannat have all confirmed their participation in the free cleanup, which is being organised by Malta Clean Up founder and coordinator Camilla Appelgren.
“The only thing I ask is that they have one skip available onsite and that one councillor – or the mayor – is there on the day for some hours to join us,” Camilla told Lovin Malta. “I happily do the rest. I bring all the volunteers, elect leaders, take care of sponsoring and equipment… you name it. And I do that for all 100 sites.”
Yesterday morning, seven Maltese local councils had yet to accept to be a part of the cleanup. Another 10 local councils from Gozo were also non-responsive to multiple emails that had been sent over three months ago.
“It’s quite sad that there some local councils who don’t even want a free cleanup organised for them,” Camilla told Lovin Malta. “I’ve sent four emails since October. I’m sure that some of those who haven’t replied do know about it. They might still think they have to do it all, but I explicitly say in the email that I will care of it all.”
“The deadline was 22nd January,” Camilla told her 4,000 strong community on Facebook. “But I’m willing to wait a tiny bit more to get all councils on board.”
Apart from the four local councils who have now reached out to cooperate with the national cleanup initiative, others have also reached out to start negotiations.
“The Qala mayor has also been in contact with me over the last couple of hours,” Camilla told Lovin Malta. “I even got emails from the Birgu Local Council now, although they have to be fully registered.” Camilla has also received private messages of people who promised to raise awareness in their own community to push their local councils into accepting what is, essentially, a free cleanup.
“Some local councils have been awesome,” Camilla said. “I have some where I’m in daily contact with mayors planning about it. They’ve been offering their own opinions and resources. So it’s been a very mixed reaction.”
Apart from organising this national cleanup out of her own accord, Camilla also has a full-time job and a family to take care of. “I think it’s quite fair to stop chasing them now that the deadline has passed. I’ll get on board with the planning and they can still get on board until 15th February. Then, it’ll unfortunately be too late; leaders will have to be assigned to their sites and a third of the events are already out and gaining traction.”
“I’m really happy to see that people have started piling on the pressure on their representatives and decision makers,” Camilla told Lovin Malta this morning following a very productive afternoon yesterday. “We are so close, and I still think we might make it. I want everyone to join.”
Earth Day 2018 is on the 22nd of April. Separate events for the nationwide cleanup will be up on Malta Clean Up’s Facebook group on the 1st of March. People can sign up there, and can even choose to be leaders – Camille is still missing some 20.