A woman and her friend spent five hours picking up leftover bits of plastic that had been used to cover benches to stop people gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of a series of preventative measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, some local councils have decided to cling film benches in an attempt to stop people from gathering in groups outside.
However, these initiatives seem to be ignored, resulting in some people tearing off the plastic to make use of the bench.
Noticing what was happening, Smudge Thomson and her friend decided to take matters into their own hands and spent five hours going around Qawra, St Paul’s Bay and Buġibba picking up bits of plastic before they flew into the sea.
“We spent five hours (while social distancing and wearing gloves etc) either removing plastic that had been blown off and wrapped around railings or blowing around going to trip someone up, or rewrapping and tying the ones we could save. We did not remove anything that was still in place,” she said.
“We basically did all the benches in St Paul’s, Bugibba and Qawra.”
Local councils around Malta have made the decision to wrap public benches in plastic so as to discourage people from gathering and socialising outside – a decision made with the right intentions but that could have negative consequences for the environment if not adhered to properly.
“I messaged the mayor and told him that a lot of people aren’t happy about the benches due to the plastic as it was going to end up in the sea,” she continued.
“He told me he was going to sort it and then messaged me telling me he had. But when I went out, I found that there was no-one doing a regular check and I also saw people sitting on the benches too.”
With a determination to make things right, Thomson and her friend’s five hour clean up proved fruitful and resulted in them gathering a full large bag of plastic.
“I saw dolphins in Sliema yesterday, they could well have been saved by this.”
Thomson plans to carry out these cleanups on a weekly basis, that is until local councils begin to loosen their coronavirus measures.