If we are to enjoy our summer holidays and the gorgeous spots around the islands, we’ve also got to do our bit for the environment. The beaches and the seas certainly deserve it, and so do all the people who’d like to check out these amazing spots after we’re done.
1. DO separate your waste…
Beaches have bins. And they’re colour coded. And they’re everywhere. There’s literally no excuse for you to not throw your things away.
2. … and make sure it stays out of the sea
We’re looking at you boating fiends. That clingfilm you wrapped your ftira in had better not sail off the side of your boat.
3. DON’T throw your cigarette butts in the sea/beach
So, A – stop smoking, it’ s a terrible habit. B – cigarette butts can take up to 10 years to fully degrade, and can be accidentally ingested by young children, animals and sea life.
4. DON’T have your playlist on full blast
Look, we get that Martin Garrix means a lot to you. That doesn’t mean that the swimmers in Ramla Bay need to hear it – especially if you’re in San Blas bay. By all means, get that fancy bluetooth speaker with you, just take it down to a three – sound pollution is a real thing.
5. DO use eco-friendly products to clean your boat…
Boats are great. Cleaning them, not so much. As they’re sitting pretty in the sea, most our your cleaning product will most likely end up in said sea, so make sure whatever you’re using doesn’t have effects on marine ecosystems.
6. … and DO maintain your boat
With great cleaning, comes great maintaining. It made more sense in our head, just hear us out on this one. Boats require massive upkeep – electronics, paint jobs, and most importantly engines. Poor engine maintenance means reduced performance from your boat and a shorter overall machinery lifespan, as well as terrible output to the environment, which could lead to pollution or disturbance of marine life.
In the long run, not taking care of the products you already own means you’re more likely to upgrade to something newer or fancier without considering the repercussions of doing away with something that’s potentially totally salvageable. In 2018, it’s all about having a circular economy mindset: thinking ahead with adequate maintenance means less hassles in the future.
7. DO buy food and drink with minimal packaging
Odds are you’re going to be dehydrated and exhausted in the sun. Packing lunch and drinks from home means you’re less likely to buy things that might go to waste at the beach, but if you must get your lunch from the beach kiosk, go for something that’s got the least amount of packaging possible. And even then, remember to dispose of everything in the correct manner!
8. DO refuse straws
… and plastic cups for that matter. We’re all guilty of indulging in a fancy cocktail by the sea with a cup and straw we know all too well will be ditched once we’re done sipping. Next time you’re at the beach refuse straws and plastic cups – it’ll get business owners thinking about best practices and environmental responsibility at the very least.
9. DO buy eco-friendly cutlery and crockery
If you’re a boat owner, this is a definite must-have. Investing in some good seaworthy and eco-friendly plates, cups etc. means they’ll be around for a long time and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment all in one fell swoop!
10. DO avoid oil spills
Even a tiny oil spill can have devastating effects on marine life and the coastline. As boats are essentially machines on water, gas and oil could likely leach out into the sea. To avoid these potential mishaps, try filling your tank while docked or better yet on land; and try to have a few oil-absorbent cloths to soak up any leaks.
11. DO educate your children
Turn your Sunday plans into a learning opportunity for your kids. If you spot them disposing of litter incorrectly, explain the long-term implications of plastic at sea. Such plastic becomes weathered and eroded into very small fragments known as micro-plastics, which can become distributed throughout the food chain or end up on beaches worldwide.
12. DON’T leave food on the ground
Sure, food is biodegradable, but it won’t be disappearing overnight! Keeping the beach clean of foodstuffs ensures other people can enjoy the beach after you’ve left, and will help keep pests away.
13. DON’T dispose of boat sewage at sea
This seems obvious, but you know what they say about common sense. If there are bathroom facilities on board your boat, any waste collected will need to be disposed of in the correct manner. The usual option is a pump-out facility or better yet, a composting toilet. Just never the sea. Don’t be gross.
14. DO dispose of your charcoal appropriately
Don’t just bury it in the sand – charcoal can keep burning and you could potentially injure other people! If barbecues are permitted, there should be charcoal bins distributed throughout the beach.
15. DON’T climb on sand dunes
Please, for the love of every bloody sign that’s been put up: Don’t. Step. On. The. Sand. Dunes. We’ve barely any left around the Maltese islands, and they’re a great source of indigenous biodiversity.
16. DO pick up rubbish
If you spot litter at sea, or on the beach, why not just collect it and dispose of it? Sure, we’re programmed to feel squeamish and disgusted at the thought, but that quick action could go a long way to keeping the beach and seas as clean as possible.
17. DO remember that what ends up in the sea could end up in your plate
Malta is (surprise, surprise) surrounded by the sea, and as a result we’ve become accustomed to some delicious and mouthwatering seafood dishes. Just so you know however, this is the way food chains work: what your fish eats will end up on you plate. And that means you could be consuming microplastics and other poorly-degrading materials without even knowing it!
It only takes a trip to the recycling bin to help prevent plastic from ending up in the sea. Or better yet, upcycle your plastic and help prevent larger products from harming turtles, sea birds and other marine life.