Plastic balloons are no longer a feature of Qormi’s San Ġorġ village feast celebrations after the organisers took heed of warnings of their impact on the environment.
Instead of releasing balloons, the Kumitat Festi Esterni San Ġorġ purchased a number of commemorative flags and distributed them free of charge to revellers.
The committee decided to change its practices last year following complaints by Malta Clean-Up activist Cami Appelgren.
“Further to your comments, the Organising Committee thought long and hard about possible alternatives,” the committee told Appelgren in a letter.
“This year, it is with great pleasure that we announce that instead of a balloon release, the Organising Committee invested in a number of small commemorative flags to mark the event.”
“These flags were distributed free of charge to all parishioners and other participants in the event, and can be kept as momentos of the occasion. They may also be used from one year to the next, rendering them reusable, rather than single-use plastic items.”
“The adoption of this practice not only gives parishioners a more long-lasting souvenir of the event which heralds a week of celebrations in honour of our patron saint, Saint George, but also has a relatively much smaller impact on the environment than a balloon release.”
“We thank you once again for your interest in the organisation of the feast of St George, and for motivating the Committee to do its share to protect the environment.”
Appelgren praised the committee for its decision, saying that their letter made her day.
“We don’t need to wait for EU laws or Maltese laws. We CAN and SHOULD think ourselves and understand the consequences and solve the issues,” she said.