Students-eye views of environmental issues
The following are a selection of articles and photos submitted by students from various schools taking part in the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) programme.
Dive against debris
According to National Geographic, 40 per cent of the plastic we use is single-use. Much of it ends up in our waterways and the percentage of unrecycled plastic waste being washed into the sea is getting higher and higher.
Aquaventure, a dive centre in Mellieħa, decided to do something about it. Its divers conduct about 20 dives per year to collect debris from the sea. And to cut single-use plastic, instead of buying water in plastic bottles it sells reusable bottles.
Aquaventure manager Lee Martin said: “Single-use plastic is not only bad for our environment but also for us, as tiny microplastics, which can be seen in the sand, are being washed out to sea. The fish eat these tiny pieces of plastic, and when we eat these fish they end up in us!
“I care a lot about our ocean, fish and beaches and we should all care about this problem. It is not going to get smaller unless we all do something. It does not take much to switch to reusable items instead of single-use plastic.”
Michaela Tickle, Form 2, St Monica School, Gżira.
Plastic versus reusables (PVR)
Sixteen billion disposable coffee cups are used every year. Although they are made of paper the inside of the cups are coated with plastic to laminate them, and they have plastic lids, which just adds insult to injury! The photo shows a disposable cup with a dead plant and straw in the dark in the foreground and a reusable cup in the background. The latter contains a living plant and a reusable straw and has light on it, to stress the message that it is these types of cups and straws that we need to use.
Natural beauty vs unnatural destruction
The photo shows a piece of land full of beautiful life and natural beauty in the background and plastic bottles in the foreground. The bottle on the right has soil trapped inside it. Plastic is unnatural, and it stops all life from growing. Although they are reusable it is estimated that 22 billion plastic bottles are thrown away every year. People are to blame, not plastic. Plastic is recyclable.
The area between Bulebel industrial area and the bypass going towards Żejtun is turning into a dump. All sorts of waste, including broken glass, plastic, broken furniture and paper is accumulating there all the time. Recently, even a porcelain toilet base ended up in this area, adding to the waste thrown in the street and creating public inconvenience.
Apart from being illegal, dumping waste in the countryside is an eyesore. Moreover, the chemicals and non-biodegradable materials dumped in this manner are contaminating the soil and the groundwater and has become a huge environmental issue.
Żejtun local council and the Malta Industrial Parks were contacted and an immediate action was taken to clean up and regularly monitor the area.
Grazia Magro, St Margaret College’s Senior Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua.
To read other students’ entries, visit www.yremalta.org.