The EcoSchools committee has been taking part in the EU funded project We Eat Responsibly and the members together with their link teachers have been promoting the use of local seasonal products. This two year project was integrated in other eco-schools programmes of which LEAF and the Litter Less Campaign and in various subjects across the curriculum, involved the whole school community, reached out to a lot of people through social media but also on the national TV and various radio stations and above all managed to directly link a number of the SDGs including life on land, zero hunger, sustainable cities and communities and responsible consumption and production.
Click here to watch feature on Għawdex Illum, a weekly programme on the maltese national TV station.
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Want the experience? Just go to Xlendi. Yes, one of Gozo’s prime tourists’ sites is changing into a walk-through landfill. Bring in sites have been burnt. Open garbage bags with waste spread all over, bulky waste on pavements are the rule of the day especially over weekends.
According to the new Eurostat report, Malta generated 647kgs of waste per person in 2016. This is over 150kg above the EU average, and it also means that Malta is officially the second most waste generating country in Europe. Why is Malta ranking so high?
Suggestions and possible solutions have been put forward by many, including young reporters since at least 2014. It was on the media and the relative authorities were also contacted back then. Unfortunately things not only did not improve but the situation has worsened over time. Back in 2014 bring-in sites had been ‘converted’ into open air dumping sites. Careless persons actually made them inaccessible by depositing mounds of garbage bags and rubbish at the base and all around the recycle containers. Numerous residents and young reporters included suggested that security cameras are installed to stop irresponsible dumping of non-recyclable waste but no cameras have been installed to-date. Enforcement was also suggested.
Once again the Munxar Local Council was contacted. Our comments and concerns were politely listened to. The council fully acknowledged the waste problem that Xlendi is facing because of irresponsible dumping and littering.
The reply was that the Local Council was doing its utmost to solve the issue by increasing the number of rubbish collection times and introducing environment wardens.
The Malta toursim Authority Office in Victoria Gozo was also contacted but the person there replied that it was not the authority’s responsibility to monitor waste disposal and littering in localities notwithstanding the fact that tourists visiting and staying in Xlendi commented on social media about the terrible state that this seaside resort is in.
Unfortunately it seems that this is not an isolated case. Similar tourist resorts such as Marsalforn are also facing the same problems. This is due to a large number of people, tourists and locals, who stay there for the weekend and obviously have rubbish bags and other waste at the end of their stay, especially on Sunday afternoons.
Although effort is being made, it is certainly not enough. Finances may be one of the costraints, but it is necessary for all to pull the same rope and that enforcement is increased three fold or more if necessary. There is still a long way to go with regards to finding the right balance between rubbish disposal and waste collection and the general upkeep of this small but beautiful spot in Gozo. The first step is to reduce waste, recycle all that is possible and be responsible that the items one has to throw away are disposed of in the right way and at the right place.
Malta’s dependency on tourism, economic progress and population growth is putting extra pressure on the Maltese Islands’ surface area. Construction seems to have become Malta’s main source of income. The solution developers are providing for the ever increasing demand for accommodation is concrete high rise buildings. Urban sprawl is categorically affecting the balance between rural and built-up areas with a great loss of the local identity. Urban skylines are being swamped with haphazard development without any real concern on the effects on the surrounding area and environment. These emerging ‘trees’ are literally suffocating the traditional low buildings built in local stone. How sustainable is all this?
Crib making is a popular tradition in the village of Xagħra. They are made in all sizes from matchbox to larger than life. Various materials are used in their production. The Xaghra Branch of the Society of Christian doctrine (M.U.S.E.U.M.) excelled in giving a new life to various discarded materials and objects in the making of a large mechanical crib.
The crib knows its beginning in 1969. Old washing machines, disused timing belts, bicycle chains, used cardboards, plastic caps, old clothes, discarded pieces of wood and parts of broken furniture and similar materials have been used to build this crib. During a visit on site, Mr. John Attard, Mr. Peppi Theuma and Mr Joe Borg, the masterminds behind this project, opened the ‘insides’ of the crib and explained in detail the construction process involved in the making of the crib. It is clear how every object is meticulously and very cleverly adapted and used, giving it a new and actually useful purpose. Indeed, a great way of reducing litter!!
Committee members had the opportunity to feel the soil and get closer to nature after setting up our own organic garden.
After getting permission, an area in the school garden close to the students and which was abandoned, has been cleared, cleaned and prepared to start growing our own food.
Committee members consulted the seed calendar, meticulously prepared by St. Michael’s School St. Venera, and various vegetables were chosen. All of the committee members are very excited and can’t wait to see them grow.
Five students from the EkoSkola committee together with the school’s link teachers attended the FEE fest which is practically a fair displaying all services and opportunities as regards Education for sustainable developemnt under one roof as coordinated by Nature Trust FEE Malta. The students attended interactive sessions, learned about Fair Trade amongst other things and visited various stands. Moreover, our school was awarded funding from HSBC Malta Water Programme to support the committee’s plans for the Water Explorer project.