Dead turtles strangled and choked by plastic in our seas might’ve caused citizens all over Malta to be concerned and enraged last week, but that didn’t stop a worryingly large amount of plastic to be shot out and blown straight into the sea this weekend.
Swedish clean-up activist and Malta Clean-Up admin Camilla Appelgren’s latest Facebook post showed the aftermath of last weekend’s carnival celebrations in Marsascala, where a canon allegedly shot a large amount of plastic pellets “straight into the sea”. This was reportedly followed by “balloons released by dancers”, an act which only served to further enrage environmentalists online.
“No one can say they don’t understand that it’s bad to shoot plastic confetti into the sea,” Camilla said on Facebook. “Seriously now. Feasts are wonderful BUT they can be made environment friendly. Or rather, they HAVE TO be.”
“No one can say they don’t understand that it’s bad to shoot plastic confetti into the sea,” Camilla continued. “Please, take action. This is forbidden by law. It’s pure littering (since they can’t clean it up). Make it by law that confetti HAS to be paper without plastic lining. And make that law happen yesterday rather than next millennium.”
“It’s not JUST a piece of plastic and it’s not mhux xorta,” Camilla said. “It matters and it’s killing the sea and us.”
“Just like Conrad Borg Manché took a strong stand against plastic confetti in Gzira, making a statement it wouldn’t happen again and sent his workers to clean up the mess as much as possible (when it was a job that should have been done by the festa organisers), I hope that Marsascala mayor Mario Calleja will do the same,” Camilla said.
Now, Marsascala mayor Mario Calleja has weighed in on the issue
“While I appreciate and understand the preoccupation of many people, these are normal results of an event,” the mayor said. “These things don’t only happen in Marsascala.”
Calleja went on to say that, in the early hours of the morning, members of the Cleansing Department were already on site and had “cleaned everywhere”.
Posted earlier this morning, the photos have already gained a substantial amount of traction, with over 50 shares and dozens of comments condemning the organisers’ decision.
To further drive her point home, Camilla added some of the photos that dominated Maltese headlines over the last couple of weeks, including a photo of the rare leatherback turtle that had been found dead after ingesting plastic.
Many people online are calling for an outright ban on plastic confetti being used during village feasts and other similar celebrations, arguing that the island’s laws on littering are not being enforced well enough. “For the sake of the sea, make it illegal to use and go back to paper confetti, like it’s always been,” Camilla told Lovin Malta.
“I am urging the councils to take the pledge sent to them about working with me to raise awareness about the harm of balloon releases,” she concluded. “We can’t both cry for the dead turtles and then sign their execution order.”