This last year has seen a rapid increase in cleanups and environmental initiatives all around the island, and communities like Malta Clean Up have been at the forefront of it all. Amassing over 6,000 members on Facebook, the activist group has helped remove tons of waste from the Maltese islands, and their latest initiative has seen the group being given an entire public park to take care of.
“I had the surprise of my life today when parking outside my house,” Malta Clean Up founder Camilla Appelgren told friends, family and fellow collaborators on Facebook. In the post, she went on to explain how Heritage Malta had actually stuck up an official sign saying a public park right in front of her house in Rabat was placed under her group’s responsibility.
“The site is being kept rubbish free by Malta Clean Up,” the sign reads. “Please help us keep it clean. Do not litter!”
Excited by the new development, Camilla said that many people stopped to read the new sign, and that she’ll be embarking on a new project of handing out leaflets to the neighbourhood to explain that her group does all of this voluntarily.
“I moved to Rabat last year and the park in front of my house was in a bad shape,” Camilla told Lovin Malta. “My kids and I started doing daily cleanups there and also put up a note that we are doing this.”
When she contacted the Local Council about the area to see whether she could do something to spice it up, Camilla was told that it was actually Heritage Malta’s responsibility. This is because the Tad-Dejr catacombs can be found right under the site of the garden.
“So I contacted Mr David Cardona and he was very helpful,” Camilla said. “He told us that the vegetation will be kept in control; pruning and grass cutting and so on. Then, they gave bags and a picker and as a thank you for caring for this area I got a yearly membership with Heritage Malta!”
It was here ta Heritage Malta told Camilla that new signs were going to be placed around the area.
“I advised them to not go for the ‘If you litter you will be fined €X’, but instead show that it’s taken care of by a person that is not employed by the government,” Camilla told Lovin Malta. Yesterday, the signs arrived, and they’ve already been getting a lot of attention online and in person.
Camilla’s journey, however, is only beginning.
“I’m now preparing leaflets to hand out to help educated people in the neighbourhood about the area, and the fact that there are catacombs and we should therefore respect the area even more,” Camilla told Lovin Malta. “It will also be a great opportunity to let them get to know me, which will connect us all further to the site. Hopefully, less litter will start appearing. If all people around this site kept their eyes open and told of litterers, we would get a very nice park!”
“When you have an area outside your house that is so beautiful, I think it’s important to work together as a community to keep it tidy and clean so our kids can play there,” Camilla concluded.
“Many will say ‘It’s not your job’… Yes, maybe not. But that only means I’m not paid to do it. And everyday humans do things they aren’t paid for, we still do it out of civic pride. It simply feels better”