UPDATED at 14:00: Mġarr’s Local Council has confirmed their participation.
Cleanups are one of the best activities to have caught on in Malta last year, thanks to youth organisations like Żibel and activists like Camilla Appelgren. Going all out for this year’s Earth Day (22nd April), Appelgren has planned a nationwide cleanup involving 100 sites spread over all the island’s local councils. While some have been very responsive and helpful, others have yet to reply to emails from over three months ago.
In a post on her community Malta Clean Up, Appelgren shared the names of all the local councils which have gotten on board ever since she sent emails back in October. “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,” she 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.”
So far, seven Maltese local councils still haven’t accepted to be a part of the initiative; Birgu, Iklin, Kirkop, Mġarr, Mqabba, Tarxien and Żabbar. Gozo, on the other hand, is lagging behind. Only four of the 14 local councils on the sister island have confirmed their participation in the free Earth Day cleanup.
“The deadline was 22nd January,” Camilla told the 4,000 strong community on Facebook. “But I’m willing to wait a tiny bit more to get all councils on board.”
“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 situation, thankfully, is not as grim elsewhere.
“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.”
This, of course, is not the only thing on Camilla’s daily agenda. “At the moment, I’m spending five hours a day planning this nationwide cleanup,” she said. “And that’s on top of a full-time job and a family. So 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.”
Yesterday’s post on Malta Cleanup has attracted the attention of concerned citizens of the localities in question. Eventually, local councillors and politicians of the towns and villages which haven’t replied yet were tagged, with people urging their representatives to take part in what is, quite literally, a free cleanup organised for them.
“We are so close, and I still think we might make it,” Camilla told Lovin Malta. “I want everyone to join. We just need to put some more pressure on these decision makers and show them that we are with them and that we are ready to take a strong stand for the environment.”
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.