On Saturday, July 3rd, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Żibel ororganizedts the seventh cleanup in Paradise Bay, a picturesque bay located on the northern coast of Malta. Żibel is the leading NGO in the Maltese Islands that focuses on cleaning the sea of human-made waste, primarily using diving as the main method.
Paradise Bay, known for its bright blue waters and white sand, attracts numerous visitors each year, particularly during the summer. Unfortunately, the bay’s popularity has led to an increased rate of pollution from waste materials. Additionally, prevailing northwest winds contribute to the accumulation of debris in the bay, resulting in a significant amount of waste. Notably, interesting items like a car, boat parts, and engines have been found and retrieved from the seabed using a sea crane.
Over the past six years, Żibel has conducted cleanup operations in Paradise Bay on six occasions, consistently collecting an average of 1.5 tonnes of waste during each cleanup. Cleaning the area required substantial logistical planning, including determining the necessary equipment and organizing helpers, due to the challenges posed by the volume of the waste. In an effort to reduce the spread of people during the cleanup, some of Żibel’s main team members organized a preliminary cleanup a few days before the official cleanup day, targeting hard-to-reach areas with potentially hidden trash. This proactive approach aims to ensure a safe cleanup day for all participants.
During the most recent cleanup, a total of 65 volunteers, including divers, free divers, and coastal personnel, participated. Over the course of five hours, they brought 1.75 tonnes (1754.71 kg) of garbage to the surface. This figure represents the combined weight of various pollutants retrieved, including 273.44 kg of plastic, 49.1 kg of fishing equipment and ropes, 9.8 kg of glass, 326.08 kg of metal, and the remaining 1096 kg consisted of mixed waste. The cleanup effort was supported by a crane, a boat, and an RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat), all crucial for ensuring the safety of personnel while handling heavy objects and facilitating the cleanup process.
Overall, the cleanup was a big success since a significant mass of waste was collected. Żibel’s overarching goal of minimizing waste and promoting the reuse of materials is commendable. By exploring innovative methods to repurpose the collected waste, such as transforming it into new products like clothes and accessories, they not only mitigate environmental harm but also contribute to sustainable practices. In addition, the organization’s commitment to educating the public about the dangers of pollution in the sea plays a crucial role in fostering a collective responsibility toward preserving our marine ecosystems.
Żibel is a registered Voluntary Organisation and eNGO based in Malta. It was founded with the aim of reducing the overall waste generated on our islands and restoring our natural environment. Since its inception, Żibel has grown to become one of the most active environmental organizations in Malta.
The organization works to reduce the amount of waste entering our oceans by organizing beach clean-ups, underwater clean-ups, and other initiatives. They also work to educate the public about marine conservation and sustainable living practices. In addition, Żibel has recently launched Sikka, an initiative that introduces 3D-printed artificial reefs to Maltese waters in order to regenerate and support the local marine ecosystem.
Since its founding, Żibel has organized more than 5000 volunteers for various projects and collected over 3.6 tonnes of waste from Senglea and Tigné during two seabed clean-ups organized in collaboration with the Malta Airport Foundation. The organization continues to grow as it strives to make a positive impact on our environment and protect our oceans for future generations.
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