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Author Topic: Pollution  (Read 2249 times)
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Jonathan
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« on: February 25, 2008, 09:11:58 CET »

Whilst fishing in the area off Xghajra yesterday, we noticed a green barge repetitively leaving from somewhere next to Rinella, going out in the dumping ground (which is around 2 miles NE off Grand Harbour), and dumping its stuff there. The problem is that the barge was not only dumping rocks and stones which immediately sink to the bottom. The load of the barge also included several pieces of foam, jablo, plastic and pieces of wood. It doesn't take an expert to realise that this stuff FLOATS forever!

The sea in the whole area from Sliema down to Wied Il-Ghin looked like a disgusting river of flotsam and floating garbage. I think that this is totally shameful - this barge was polluting the sea big time as well as posing a hazard to navigation! At one point we got a big piece of plastic fouling our propellor and I wouldn't like to think about the consequences had we been going at a higher speed or had it been in the night.

After discussing this thing with other boat owners, I was told that the barge was already spotted performing this pollution on Friday evening as well as on Saturday morning. For all I know it could have started this operation even earlier and it could still be operating right now whilst I am writing.

This shameful pollution of our environment has to stop and be reverted! The responsible persons must correct their actions by clearing the sea, before the wind and current scatters it further all across the Mediterranean. The cleaning up could easily be done by getting a pollution control boat which is specifically designed to collect floating debris. When googling the issue, I came across several examples of this type of vessel on the following site: http://www.trashskimmer.com. I don't know whether Malta already has one of these boats. If we do, it should be used in this case. If we still don't have one of these boats, I think that our authorities should consider investing in one.

Does anyone from this forum have any contacts who could act on this?

Or perhaps any ideas on how we can take this further?
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skip
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2008, 16:01:58 CET »

Direct contacts no, however the MMA are responsible for overseeing everything that happens in territorial waters. Specifically Notice to Mariners 80 of 2007 specifies that the Coastal Station Vessel Traffic Service operated by the AFM, Call Sign Coastal VTS (Ch. 69 and Ch. 16) is responsible for overseeing all traffic in the 12nm radius and that any vessels undergoing inerting, tank cleaning gas freeing or purguing operations (which I guess includes dumping) have to establish contact.

You can also call them on 21809279, 824220, 824221 and report the incident giving a description of the vessel, and what it was doing.

I would still call them and report the incident and what you observed.

Concerning the pollution control boat, I believe we have vessels designed for handling oil slicks, but I'm not sure about a trashskimmer. It would be a suggestion to pass to the MMA, Ports Directorate.
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shanook
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2008, 16:18:55 CET »

A picture of the incident would be helpful...
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Aab131
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2008, 18:57:26 CET »

I have noted the barge also. Basically it is throwing the building material of the factories where SmartCity is going to be built. It is true it is a shame to throw everything and not only building material.
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2008, 19:41:48 CET »

even a picture of the floating material would help and we can pass on to newspapers and then u see action being taken
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Jonathan
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2008, 20:17:33 CET »

Below is a poor picture which I took, however you can't really understand the magnitude of the pollution from this picture as I took it from a distance out of fear of fouling my propellor for the second time if I had to get too close to the stream of debris again.

(PS Skip, I'm sorry for posting this pic here but I didnt see it fitting in any of the categories of the gallery so i had to work round the system by converting it to pdf.)

* floating pollution.pdf (37.41 KB - downloaded 144 times.)
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shanook
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2008, 20:55:10 CET »

What a shame eh and to think that the sea is the only thing left for us to attract tourism..............Oh well we pay taxes to advertise Malta or to put it in a nasty way the Government collects taxes and spends money to attract tourists and the same Government screws up its own work........what a shame......
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shanook
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 20:56:24 CET »

visa is right thats the only thing that can move these people is to expose to newspapers...otherwise they take u for a ride......
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DJS
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 21:17:00 CET »

The amount of debris on the surface outside of the Grand Harbour on Sunday was shocking. There were large pieces of timber which could easily damage a boat travelling at speed and there was a browny-grey slick of some descript spreading in the Tigne' direction.

I only had two real-screaming hits in three hours of trolling .... both of them resulted in being large polythene bags which my daughter insisted on me keeping on board having learned at at school that sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Such illegal dumping should not go unreported, as its both dangerous to boats users / divers and is detrimental to the environment. Maybe we (as the MFF) should bring this issue, as well as illegal net fishing in harbour areas, formally with the Ports Directorate or Harbour Master within the MMA. 
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2008, 21:45:08 CET »

Its a big shame to see what this barge was dumping. The sea last sunday and even saturday was full of pieces of foam and timber all lying in the surface. Seems like the authorities are not taking any action and the government does what ever it likes. We need to do something before it is too late.
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Jonathan
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2008, 22:43:02 CET »

I have logged this incident on the Contact Us form of the  website of the Ministry For The Environment - http://www.mrae.gov.mt/

Aab131, DJS and BigBoy, I think it might be a good idea if every one of us who witnessed & experienced this shameful industrial pollution of our sea similarly lodges the issue on the above site or onto any other medium (newspaper / wesbite /etc) which you think is best appropriate.

I believe that the greater the number of people who raise this case, the more likely the matter is to get the urgent attention from the relevant authorities / bodies, which it so desperately requires (as the debris would by now already be drifting all over the place). Moreover, the dumping barge guys must learn from their mistake and take the necessary precautions to ensure that this will not happen again.

Somewhere I had read that evil triumphs when good fails to act. I think that this is an important case where all sea lovers must make an effort to somehow act towards defending our sea from this blatant act of heavy pollution.  A short email / letter from every one of us can get the ball rolling. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2008, 05:31:27 CET »

Jonathan, No worries about the attachment, for next time in such instances send it to me and I will put it as an image anyways.

Has anyone notified the times of malta? If not, we can work on drafting a letter together as the Malta Fishing Forum, let me know if you want to do this.

Well done on the MRAE submission, as you state if more people submit who witnessed it, it would be a lot better. It's a shame we didnt know on Sunday as Fin might have been able to take some aerial photo's due to his job.

If the flotsam is still around I will ask him to try and take some pics.

Skip
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2008, 07:35:01 CET »

I also noticed that barge as I was diving near that area. The visibility was very poor next to shore. It's the same thing that happened once in Birzebbuga. There was another barge next to the freeport making all the surrounding sea cloud. As the contracter had the power, no one stopped him!
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Jonathan
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2008, 07:42:17 CET »

Great idea Skip, apart from the individual email/letter to MRAE / MMA / etc from each one of us who saw the debris, a letter to the Times from us jointly as MFF together with an aerial pic from Fin should definitely attract the required attention to this careless sea dumping.
So how do you suggest that we go about it Skip?
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2008, 08:11:15 CET »

I'll speak with Fin this morning see if he can help out with a pic if the debris is still in the area. In the meantime I will try and draft a letter to be sent to the Times and the MMA. Will let you see a draft before sending.

Skip
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