Thursday being a normal day of work and with only 24 hours previous notice, was not highly conductive to expect a good number of volunteers in an organised clean-up session for Il-Magħluq. It turned out that Rio and Marianne from our group Marsascala Community & Friends were the only two who could make it. Admittedly not the most able-bodied within the community, but well, we did our very best.
James Gabaretta from Nature Trust and a few of his younger colleagues transmitted the energy needed to immediately roll up our sleeves. We were provided with gloves, huge brooms, garbage bags and spade. A good amount of plastic and rubble was swept and collected, an unsightly skip removed, large stones were turned into seats and in less than a couple of hours we could look back and appreciate the now clear space which made the area look much cleaner and bigger. We had a couple of visitors asking us what we were doing, and showed their appreciation. It was a good advert for our group. Ducks came along too. Admittedly cute, but in no way did they help us in our venture. In fact, unfortunately, il-Maghluq is certainly not the place for them as they contribute very negatively to the area in many ways.
Answering our question with regards dredging the waters, which was in the news only a few days before, our high hopes were instantly lowered when we were told that although permits were issued, it wouldn’t be until a year, or maybe more, before the work would really start. The media does not help when it raises people’s expectations and promises are not delivered until months or even years later. Hence the negative effect on people’s morale and the perception that nothing ever gets done. Perhaps an explanation to the public about how things will be conducted will be in order.
We are happy that our group was, at least, represented. We certainly would appreciate better timing next time so that more of us may be able to participate in further improving several areas around Marsaskala. Clean-up sessions are just one way of participating. More ideas from the general public through our website and/or facebook page are always welcomed and much appreciated.