Sliema’s residents are up in arms with the state of their beloved town. People of all ages are banding together to keep up the appearance of the famous seaside tourist spot. Residents of Sliema have formed a close-knit group (on Facebook of course; let’s not forget this is Malta) acting as a neighbourhood watch.
Residents are simply fed up with the direction their town seems to be headed in, especially since their council recently took a €2 million funding cut – a big blow to one of Malta’s most highly desirable residential areas.
Adding an adorable twist to activism, Nick Groombridge – an expat living in Sliema’s heart – has set up what he calls “Puppy Patrol”.
Groombridge had been thinking of getting an animal for a while, and after a friend working in the Cat Sanctuary had shown him Troy, it was love at first sight. Puppy Patrol came to Nick in a dream one night, shortly after Troy’s adoption.
Puppy Patrol surfaced from the need to have to walk Troy anyway, so Nick figured he’d kill two birds with one stone and help keep his town clean and tidy at the same time.
Puppy Patrol responds to reports of littering and illegal dumping through the Government-supported platform Clean and Upkeep and any other reports made through the Sliema Residents Facebook group. Once Nick and Troy are made aware of a spot of bother in the area, they set off for a walk to make sure it’s been seen to. If the mess has not been put right, the two set off home to chase up the reports.
The app has been live on iOS and Android stores since 2015, but only recently saw a push in the usage, after a complete UI overhaul in 2018’s update. The application lets you track and follow up on any reported incidents, and the kinds of things you can report range from (sadly) common practices like fly-tipping and overfilled rubbish bins all the way to algae removal along the coastlines.
The initiative has seen amazing responses from all residents in the group, and sees support from local councillor John Pillow, who makes it his mission to ensure that residents of Sliema adhere to the waste collection guidelines as well.
The group are planning to organise a recurring evening walk along the promenade to vent off frustrations for residents wanting to get involved. The plan is to meet up at one end of the Sliema promenade and walk down together as a group, discussing any issues they feel are top priority for the area.
Not only is the meet-up set to quell some of the pent-up anger of residents, but it also seeks to serve a meeting point for the elderly who may not have as much access to social events in the area. Social responsibility, come through! Oh, and let’s not forget about adorable Troy.