For the third consecutive year, the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning is launching the Saving our Blue campaign with an aim of intensifying efforts against environmental and marine pollution, particularly that which is caused by single-use plastics.
This was announced by the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia on World Oceans Day, a day which highlights the need to protect our seas and oceans, the species within them, and the resources they provide.
“Our marine environment is a particular one. It is a source of food and medicine and offers important economic activity for fishers and populations all over the world. During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen many adopt a better way of life to preserve the environment around them. Many have adopted more sustainable consumption patterns. But the fact remains that plastic takes many years to decompose and so the effects of our habits are still harming the environment and this is evidenced by the amount of marine litter on the beaches and in our sea”, the Minister said.
This year, the Saving our Blue campaign will be focusing mainly on the damage caused by microplastics, and the importance of protecting Marine Protected Areas. It will also continue to build on the results achieved in previous years and serve as a foundation for future initiatives.
“Important legislation was introduced this year to ban the importation of single-use plastic since January 2021, which will be followed by the ban on the sale and distribution of single-use plastics in the local market in January 2022,” said the minister, explaining that the legislation is an important step in the direction of reducing our dependence on plastics once and for all, and to encourage the development of alternative products with sustainable materials.
It is important, therefore, that the public and commercial sector begin their transition to the upcoming ban. “We will be working with the commercial and business sectors to promote the development of more sustainable environmental measures, and in particular to help reduce waste that ends up in the sea.”
The campaign will be implementing various clean-ups, this time on a larger number of local beaches, including clean-ups specifically focused on the collection of macro-plastics and microplastics.
“We need to become more aware of our daily choices and actions, and how they contribute to the quality of life and environment that current and future generations will enjoy. I firmly believe that everyone can play an important role in reducing single-use plastics. In this regard, I wish to call on Maltese society to make the necessary effort to make more conscious choices in everyday life. Prevention aside, it is important that we also take action,” concluded Minister Farrugia.