MALTA, TURNING IN TO ONE BIG DUMP SITE.

Congratulations Malta. We as a small nation have managed to turn our beautiful island into one massive dump site. And we should all be ashamed of ourselves. I just cannot believe how terrible it has become over the past few years. It’s very disappointing. Now, to clarify, I am not pointing the finger at anyone individually. But as a nation, in this respect. I am afraid we have failed, and failed badly.

I am categorically disturbed by just how dirty, our streets and shores have become. Its bloody disgusting. Which bears the question, how has the situation in Malta become so bad? Can we blame the ever rising population and greater number or residents for the problem? With this increase has it put to much strain on local resources? Is the infrastructure in place simply not equipped to deal with the problem? Well let’s have a look at these things in a little more detail.

Let’s start with a look at Malta and its population. Most sources will claim that the current population of Malta is at around 432,000 people. However local news media reported at the end of 2017 that it was more likely around 475,000. Whilst on the global scale, still quite minuscule, in terms of such a small country, extremely dense. Even more telling is you are looking at an increased population in Malta of around 50,000 in a decade. Surely that is enough in itself to cause a problem when it comes to increased littering. Do I think it is the problem though? Absolutely not.

In the case of the infrastructure in Malta and whether there is a system in place that can support the ever increasing numbers? I think this is a real problem. I have experienced it myself. There is an inherent lack of disposal waste bins around the island. And certainly not anywhere near enough to support the amount of general waste. I mean, I can’t remember the amount of times I have some small general waste in hand, only for there not to be a waste bin in sight. In my opinion this should never be the case.

It is less of a problem in the heavy populated tourist areas. In these places, usually you will find options. But in less frequented localities, there are few to be found anywhere. In my case, I will hold onto hand held rubbish till I either reach my destination or find a bin. Many less caring people will not bother and just dispose of their waste on the street.

There is also a very big problem with collection of waste from street based bins. In some cases, waste piles can develop over the course of days before any collection takes place. At which time the bins will be overflowing, trash spread all around just waiting for any developing wind to spread them to all corners of the island. And let’s be clear, once moved away from collection areas, the chance of being collected in the short term falls to almost zero. In the case of increased bins, I think that local councils and the government can help improve the situations.

In my opinion, all over the island there should be a collection bin on every street. And for optimal results, every 200 metres or so.  A better system of collection must also be put into place, not just focusing on general house hold collection, but also general locality waste pick ups. This, as they say, could be easier said than done. Perhaps I can shout from the rooftops how this needs to happen. But in reality the logistics of it, may provide a far more complex situation. I am aware of this. But surely a solution needs to be found. So, is infrastructure the defining factor in our waste problem? Honestly, I don’t think so.

So what you might ask am I leading to as the problem? Very, very simple. It’s us. You, me, everybody. Personally, I know what effort I make when it comes to trying to help the world’s obvious and dire environmental problems. But, I look around, and in general, the majority just don’t seem to give a God damn. Seriously, its disheartening and frustrating.

Let us start with the smokers. Sorry, I know I give you guys a hard wrap, but you don’t give me much choice. How many smokers that read this article, or that you may know, when smoking in your car, extinguish your cigarette in the ashtray of your car? How many of you? Or do you just throw it out of your car and in to the street? Please speak up, I want to know. I am pretty sure that if we were to put it into figures, less that 1% of smokers would take the in car option. So what is the result, streets absolutely filled with butts all over the place. I live in a relatively quiet area of the island, but still constantly find cigarette butts in front of our door. Absolutely disgusting.

What about when you are on the beach smokers? How many of you use some kind of receptacle to put out your fags and then throw it in the trash? Or do you take the lazy route and bury that sucker in the sand? Gross, seriously gross. Only then for our children to be playing around in that shit later on. Makes my skin crawl it’s so gross.

And then there is the general waste problem. Drink bottles, cigarette packets, food containers and packets, and so on and so forth. I took a drive yesterday through some country areas of our beautiful Malta. Along said drive, in these quieter areas, the street edges were just lined with rubbish. I am not talking about just a few here or there. I am talking about the whole way. There was not one 10 metre stretch where I didn’t see some form of litter or garbage lying at the edge of the road. And in most cases in huge amounts. And these were in unpopulated areas.

People just don’t really give a shit. Simple as that. And there in lies the problem. There is an overwhelming level of ignorance about, mixed with a disturbing amount of persons who just don’t give a fuck. So what is the solution? I am not really sure there is one. What is the point of putting in place harsher penalties for littering when there is nobody around to enforce? No point. Education? Well we could go down that route. Clearly there is not enough awareness about, so an increase in social campaigning could be of help. But it never seems to be a priority.

The only way I can see change in the short term is by word of mouth and peer pressure. Make it a constant point of topic with your friends, family and neighbors. And make it socially unacceptable to be anything other than environmentally conscious. Be an example, and set an example. And don’t be afraid to pull others up who you see lacking in moral fibre. I am not saying become a vigilante, but the odd word here or there, is sure to pump up the pressure on the less inclined. If each one of us can change just one person from not caring, then the road to a cleaner and socially responsible Malta may just be around the corner.

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