On the 16th of September, Overseas Rugby Club went green and did its bit for the environment. Following the fantastic initiative of Camilla Appelgreen to organise Malta’s biggest ever National Clean Up day, around 20 members of the club, friends and the head of referees in Malta joined forces on a scorching Saturday morning to clean different areas in Swieqi.
The National Clean Up Day, organised jointly with Let’s Do It Malta, is a day where many volunteers gather and clean dirty areas with several goals in mind; to clean the country, raise awareness about the poor ecological situation globally and locally in Malta, and to educate people to ensure a clean future for the next generation.
In the case of the rugby club and following the lead of Jonas Nahon and Amber Griffin, the mission was to clear the field situated near by the Tunnel towards Paceville, and another big paddock close to the highway. It took our 20 courageous volunteers 3 hours of hard work and plenty of sweat to gather roughly 80 big bags of rubbish, which represents more than a ton a detritus picked up. Although the range of objects collected varied – from a full toilet, syringes and nappies to hundreds of cigarette butts – it was the amount of plastic collected which surprised everyone.
We were helped by the Swieqi Council who provided gloves, bags water and support through Vince Tanti as well as the mayor himself, Noel Muscat, who also joined the “party”. It was also very heart-warming for our crew to be offered with fresh drinks from some people in the neighbourhood, who couldn’t help by physically lifting all the trash, but who probably saved a few of us from dehydration. It is also very important to note that 2 other sites were cleaned by other Swieqi Residents during the event.
With around 1,300 volunteers all around the country and 70 sites covered, the initiative was a massive success. The only negative point would be that some of the 104 proposed sites were without volunteers on the day, but it gives something to work towards and build on the fantastic turnout in the first edition.
Not only did the cleaning heroes manage to collect 2 100 bags of litter nationwide (including 540 of plastic bottles), they have hopefully contributed to the start of a change in attitude towards the environment from both citizens and politicians. Overseas were happy to support this and look forward to being involved in the future.
This day also prove one thing which we value in Rugby – Teamwork. By working together in life and on a rugby pitch, we can achieve superb things. The team obviously went for a few very well-deserved refreshments in the afternoon, making sure to recycle everything they were using!
The day finished with a cleaner Swieqi, a cleaner Malta and hopefully a greater appreciation for this beautiful island.