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Żibel’s Environmental Triumphs in 2023

Published: December 21, 2023 - 14:02
Updated: December 21, 2023 - 14:38
Żibel’s Environmental Triumphs in 2023

The NGO will be closing off the year with success and anticipation to kick off 2024 with a bang.

In 2023, Żibel, the environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in the Maltese archipelago, achieved remarkable success in fulfilling its mission to safeguard and preserve the marine environment. Demonstrating unwavering commitment through a series of impactful projects, collaborations, and initiatives, Żibel emerged as a frontrunner in addressing urgent environmental issues and championing sustainability.

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Żibel’s Environmental
Żibel’s Team

Successful Coastal Cleanups

Żibel’s commitment to environmental conservation was vividly demonstrated through the organization’s execution of numerous highly successful cleanups in 2023. During this period, an impressive 13 tonnes of waste were meticulously removed from the sea, making a substantial contribution to the reduction of marine pollution. These cleanups are the foundation of the NGO, which brings together multiple stakeholders, including the general public, to come together and clean the sea. It is this exact loyalty and determination that helps we achieve success and motivation to conduct more cleanups consistently.

Ghost Net Recovery Project

Thanks to funding from the British High Commissioner and BNF Bank, we made significant strides in combatting the menace of ghost nets—highly hazardous marine debris. With the successful collection of over 75 ghost nets, we showcased the efficacy of strategic partnerships and targeted initiatives in mitigating this environmental threat.

Collaboration with Ghost Diving and Healthy Seas

Żibel expanded its impact by collaborating with non-profits Ghost Diving and Healthy Seas in a project aimed at retrieving ghost nets from waters deeper than the recreational limit. This collaborative endeavor underscored the potency of partnerships in addressing intricate environmental challenges and fostering collective action. The project brought together divers from multiple fields including GUE divers, instructors, researchers, and environmental enthusiasts.

Żibel’s clean up
photo: Marcin Pawelczyk | Collaboration with Ghost Diving and Healthy Seas

Remora Project with Cousteau Divers

In a joint effort with Cousteau Divers, NGO actively participated in the Remora Project, contributing to the collection of crucial surface water temperature data across various regions. The innovative approach involved divers carrying devices to measure water temperature during dives, providing invaluable insights for environmental research and conservation. The results are then collectively managed by Cousteau Divers and together with divers from around the world, a complete dataset depicting the surface water temperatures is presented.

Launch of Żibel Studio and Żibel Tribe

Żibel took a proactive stance in combating the plastic problem by inaugurating Żibel Studio—a dedicated project aimed at finding sustainable solutions. This initiative envisions the establishment of a plastic recycling facility in the Maltese archipelago.

Żibel Tribe, a group of dedicated volunteers, was formed as an integral part of this initiative, embodying a collective commitment to environmental stewardship. This group is not merely a team of volunteers; it is a community bound by a common goal – to contribute significantly to the protection and preservation of the environment.

Launch of Żibel Studio
Launch of Żibel Studio and Żibel Tribe

As Żibel forges ahead with these initiatives, the organization remains committed to fostering a sense of environmental responsibility, inspiring others to join the cause and contributing to the collective well-being of the Maltese archipelago and beyond. The inauguration of Żibel Studio and the formation of Żibel Tribe are not just milestones; they represent a beacon of hope for a greener and more sustainable future to grow and bring more individuals to join the better cause.

Project Sikka and Artificial Reef Fragments

Żibel has confirmed Project Sikka for 2024, highlighting its strong commitment to reviving the marine ecosystem. The initial trials deployed in 2023 using artificial reef fragments have shown promising results indicating an increase in biodiversity.

Project Sikka is an innovative initiative aiming to install artificial reefs made from natural clay composites, similar to what was employed by the Romans. This approach not only seeks to restore the marine environment but also emphasizes sustainability as the material is clean and does not release harmful chemicals into delicate marine ecosystems.

As Żibel gears up for the full-scale implementation of Project Sikka next year, the organization continues to lead in finding solutions that contribute to a robust and environmentally resilient marine ecosystem. The NGO will host significant progress and achievements in marine conservation as Project Sikka takes centre stage in 2024.

Future Focus on Cigarette Butt Infestation and Waste Sorting

As Żibel looks ahead to 2024, the organization is poised to address the critical issue of cigarette butt infestation—the most polluted object on the islands. Additionally, plans are underway to implement focused projects aimed at sorting and managing the waste collected from the sea and coastal areas, contributing to a cleaner and healthier marine environment. The project will also aim to address the issue of cigarette butt pollution to cigarette companies by proposing a polluter pays principle. This term is ideal to enhance awareness and push for proper disposal of the butt.

In a nutshell…

In conclusion, Żibel’s achievements in 2023 reflect a year marked by dedication, collaboration, and innovation in the relentless pursuit of a healthier marine ecosystem. As the organization gears up for Project Sikka and directs attention to pressing issues such as cigarette butt pollution and waste management, Żibel continues to play a pivotal role in advancing environmental conservation efforts in the Maltese archipelago. Through careful planning and a dedication to ecological balance, Żibel remains at the forefront of positive environmental changes beneath the ocean’s surface.

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About author

Jasmine Mifsud
Jasmine Mifsud, who hails from Malta, has an incredible interest in the water surrounding the small island. Her passion for the sea is not surprising, since as a little girl, her biggest dream was to explore the oceans. This ambition created its own pathway as every decision she ever made led her to become an influential woman who decided to create a life for herself instead of living in someone else’s shoes. As time flew by, she became more adventurous and curious about our blue planet. She specialized in environmental sciences and took a tangent route into maritime archaeology, which she considers to be one of her best decisions to date. Throughout her journey, she has built friendships with some of the most inspiring divers globally, all of whom share unique experiences and stories worth listening to. As a young woman in the industry, her journey has only just begun.
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