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Efforts to phase out single-use plastics include the installation of a drinking water fountain, plastic-free events, and educating children about the perils of marine plastic pollution
San Lawrenz, a picturesque village on the Maltese island of Gozo (and the only Gozitan village named after its patron saint) is a must-visit area due to the Dwejra natural reserve with its breathtaking bay, flanked by towering cliffs. Among them is Fungus Rock, home to the Malta Fungus and a subspecies of the Maltese wall lizard. A freshwater waterfall that flows mostly in winter and the Blue Hole sinkhole can be added to the list of local nature wonders.
This proximity to pristine nature has made the 750 permanent inhabitants of San Lawrenz acutely aware of the need to preserve their environment as a key to sustainable tourism and the welfare of local residents. Led by the selfless ambition of long-acting Mayor Noel Formosa, the San Lawrenz Local Council has spearheaded many eco-friendly initiatives – from the replanting of vandalized trees in Dwejra Reserve to door-to-door waste collection and a campaign to do away with single-use plastics so as to save the oceans from perilous plastic pollution.
Installing a drinking water fountain in the main square became the first initiative under the campaign to avoid the use of plastic utensils, writes Gith Magazine. The new acquisition was well received and now the locals regularly fill their reusable water bottles from the fountain instead of purchasing plastic ones round the clock.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, the San Lawrenz Local Council banned the use of disposable plastic cups, cutlery, bags, and straws at cultural events and activities. The municipality vows to stick to this shift after the reopening, going for reusable, sustainable materials or recyclable options.
The San Lawrenz community is involved in regular litter clean-ups. During the most recent organised event, participants were given reusable bottles as a gift for lending a hand. And before the event, there was a symbolic filling of bottles from the drinking water fountain in the main square to demonstrate how simple the solution is.
As part of the ongoing campaign to phase out the use of one-time plastic bags, the Council stocked the village grocery with a large supply of reusable mesh bags for fruit and vegetables to be handed out to customers.
Acquiring (environmental) habits must start at an early age. Therefore, the Dwejra Marine Information Centre in San Lawrenz is educating local children on the massive and irreversible damage done by marine plastics. Towards this goal, the centre organises many interactive activities and offers other educational resources all year round.
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