From Paceville party leftovers, to fridges in the countryside, the Maltese environment tends to have quite the littering reputation.
Lovin Malta has compiled a list of things that individuals and event organisers can do to avoid letting littering steal our island’s beauty and charm.
1. Plastic confetti need to stop being a thing at Maltese festi and other events
This summer, heaps upon heaps of plastic confetti were blown into the air during various feasts and events in Malta. The stuff tends to carpet our promenades and – even worse – eventually make its way to the sea.
Once plastic reaches the sea, it’s very difficult to recover. It gets eaten by fish and other marine organisms, and this can in turn suffocate and kill them. It can also get stuck in the propellers of boats, damaging them… and it is of course detrimental to marine environments, not to mention the plain fact of it looking ugly. And don’t get us started on letting helium balloons fly freely (and falling into the sea when they burst).
Next year, let’s use rice paper confetti instead. Or better still, let’s just not use confetti at all.
2. Dumping of hazardous and bulky waste
We’ve had enough of reporting on dumping around the Maltese Islands, and Lovin Malta published a number of stories on the issue this year alone. Keep in mind that according to Maltese law, anyone found dumping illegally will be fined between €3000 to €6000.
If you need to get rid of domestic hazardous waste like oil, or any sort of bulky waste like fridges or washing machines, you’ve got to take these to Civic Amnesty sites, while hazardous waste from your business has to be taken care of by an ERA approved private waste collector.
If you want to get rid of your furniture, appliances or electronic waste from your household, all you have to do is call your Local Council to use their free Bulky Refuse Service. Any one of Wasteserv’s Civic Amenity sites also offers this free service.
3. Industrial dumping
Businesses which need to dispose of waste need to contact a licensed contractor to transport the waste according to the available guidelines for commercial waste.
A video taken on a bright, summer’s day this year showed a pair of construction workers dumping debris at Marsalforn Bay. Public outrage was rife in Malta, and of course it was; these things just shouldn’t be happening.
To stop the effects of dumping from being so huge, all you have to do is call the Environment Resources Authority. The authorities will then come on site and take charge of the issue themselves.
4. Discarding cigarette butts on the beach
Hot days in Malta are lived on the beach, but if we’re going to keep on dumping our cigarettes in the sand without care, then the future of our coasts is going be quite grim.
The image of sunbathing on a bed of cigarette buds while watching your kids build a sandcastle out of cigarettes isn’t exactly what summer days should look like.
Apart from this, the toxins from cigarettes collect on the filter and are then washed out into the sea. Birds and fish misinterpret these for food and ingest these toxic butts, ending up in the food chain, including the food that we will eventually eat.
Next summer, let’s do more to keep our beaches ash-free. Join in on NGO initiatives to clean up some of our beaches or pick up butts as you tan. You don’t have to do much, but as long as you look out for your surroundings, then this problem can definitely be helped in 2019.
5. Not disposing of batteries properly
The deal about throwing your batteries in the black bag, is that when they get to landfill sites they leak or emit hazardous chemicals. These leach into the ground and contaminate our soil and water table.
So do us a favour and dispose of them at stationaries, supermarkets, iron mongers, schools or specific sites that have a special battery bin.
6. Throwing medicines in the bin
Guys, this one needs to stop, like yesterday.
Don’t throw your expired medicine down the drain or in the black bag. Put these in a bag and take them to the nearest Civic amenity sites for proper disposal. When you throw away any sort of medicine, anything from pills to medicinal syrups, you are contaminating our water table and food chain as the chemicals leach back into the land.
7. Putting the wrong bag out on the wrong day
We all know that recycling and waste separation is important, but are we all doing it properly?
This uwejja, mhux xorta attitude needs to stop. Forgetting to wash out the empty cosmetic bottle or not getting rid of the food waste on your pizza takeout box can make an entire recycling bag inadmissible and can’t be used as recyclable material during the sorting process.
If you’re getting rid of domestic waste, you can leave your bag outside your house according to the Waste Collection Schedule of your local council. You can find the Waste Collection schedule for all Maltese and Gozitan localities on Wasteserv’s website.
You can have a look at Wasteserv’s factsheet in order to get a better idea on how to make sure that you’re recycling appropriately.
You can even download their Zero Waste Educational Kit to learn more on what you can do to really reduce the amount that you waste on a daily basis.
BONUS : Throwing your gum on the road
Malta spends thousands on cleaning chewing gum off streets. And all it takes is for you to throw it into a bin or some used piece of paper or wrapper if there’s no bin around you because gum-filled streets just look nasty.