iGaming company Mr Green kickstarted ‘Clean the Sea’ this week, its campaign to pick up trash from the shores and water around Malta. Students from the University of Malta and University of York, UK, will depart every morning this summer on a rib boat to clean up man-made debris from the sea, collect water samples and record data on the ocean’s health level. Maltese MP José Herrera, Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change, endorsed ‘Clean the Sea’ at the 4th of July launch event, calling it a fitting name for a company with “green credentials”.
“In the future, the volume of marine life will be less than the volume of waste deposited,” Herrera said. Plastic makes up the bulk of the waste littered in the ocean, which can take a hundred or more years to decompose and is expensive to clean up, he said. In addition, plastic particles can move up the food chain from small fish to predators to humans, although research has not confirmed what effect this has on human health.
While strong legislation is needed to address this concern, the government can’t act alone and needs to educate the public on preventative measures, Herrera added. “Ignorance is the biggest enemy of the environment and ecology,” he emphasised.
The 'Clean the Sea' team (from left): MSc students from the University of York, Minister José Herrera, Mr Green CEO Jesper Kärrbrink and the University of Malta's Adam Gauci, PhD.
Mr Green CEO Jesper Kärrbrink was inspired to do something after noticing the amount of trash marring Malta’s beaches. “We are proud to be based in Malta and want to be part of the gaming ecosystem for a long time,” Kärrbrink said. “There is fantastic weather, beaches, and the sea …”
Kärrbrink cited a recent paddleboard excursion as an example of approaching what looked like a fantastic beach, only to see plastic waste scattered about the sand when he came up to shore. It might not seem like an urgent problem today, but 10 years from now, expats might be disinclined to bring their families to Malta if the island is less beautiful, he said.
Aside from physically collecting garbage, the ‘Clean the Sea’ project can also be a visible way to inspire others to pick up after themselves and do a rethink of their habits. “Instead of throwing something in, taking something out,” Kärrbrink said.
The first of many trips, a boat carries out members of the 'Clean the Sea' team to pick up rubbish.
For the duration of the project, a skipper from RUSH Water Sports will drive the field research team out to sea where they will collect and catalogue trash for their studies on microplastics. Their studies include predicting where litter goes and where it comes from. The students will also extract microplastics by sand sifting, operate a drone to monitor where trash accumulates on the coastlines and check sea levels. This academic collaboration is headed by Professor Alan Deidun, director of the International Ocean Institute.
The first research and clean-up boat left Portomaso Marina on the 4th of July. Kärrbrink announced that ‘Clean the Sea’ will hopefully be the first of an annual event.