iGEN and Atlam volunteers join forces for World Ocean Day cleanup

Seabed and onshore clean-up at Fekruna Wharf fills a skip with rubbish

On Saturday 10th June, around 50 volunteers from iGEN and Atlam Sub Aqua Club carried out an onshore and seabed clean-up at Fekruna Warf, Xemxija, to show our support for World Ocean Day 2023.

We had originally planned to hold the clean-up at Manoel Island, but some unforeseen access permit issues got in the way, and we were forced to rethink at the last minute. Divers from Atlam had previously scouted the Fekruna Warf area, and confirmed there was a lot of rubbish on the seabed, so it made sense to relocate there. We put out a call for divers, snorkelers and onshore volunteers to help collect the material the divers would be bringing up to the surface, transferring it to the skip we had placed on the quayside, as well as to go off-road and clean the headland and Fekruna Beach areas – and luckily many heard the call.

We also lucky to have the participation of the EFRU emergency services, who were on hand in case of accidents but also prepared to roll up their sleeves up and pitch in, which they surely did! Raniero’s Adventures also put in a welcome appearance, with divers and shore-side helpers adding to our numbers.

iGaming volunteers from Internet Vikings, Aspire Global, Betsson, William Hill/Mr Green and Betclic were soon busy helping to remove a whole skips-worth of rubbish from the environment for World Ocean Day.

Rubbish was soon being removed from the whole Fekruna area, as our volunteers got to grips with the problem, both on land and beneath the surface.

The day had begun rather overcast, which is highly unusual for the time of year, but in keeping with the recent unstable spring weather, although it was probably a blessing in disguise, as last years Oceans Day Cleanup was carried out in blistering 30+ temperatures. At 08:45 the EFRU arrived with their fire truck and ambulance, only to find their permit-reserved parking spaces filled by SUVs and boat trailers. A quick call to LESA brought a warden who tried his best to contact the owners, but in the end we were able to organise alternative parking for them. One of the SUV’s was ticketed, which brought a very angry response when the owners eventually turned up…

Atlam Sub Aqua Club arrived and set up base camp, with a canopy and table for the dive master, who would be keeping record of all divers in the water, and then the skip was delivered, as well as the iGEN-sponsored air tanks. Volunteers began to turn up, and we divided them up between those who would be diving, the snorkelers, and the land cleaning volunteers. The first group of land cleaners collected sacks and began working their way along the shoreline, while the divers began suiting up.

Volunteers from Internet Vikings, Aspire Global, Betsson, William Hill/Mr Green and Betclic, helping to remove a whole skips-worth of rubbish from the environment for World Ocean Day.

After a while we had enough volunteers to peel off a group to head over to Fekruna Beach, collecting some EFRU volunteers along the way. Access to this steep area is over a wall, with quite a large slope directly below, but soon we had a group of people down scouring the wooded area and among the rocks close to the sea. The snorkelers then made their appearance, jumping in from the steps on the north side of the promontory, and gradually made their way out past the point, working their way back towards the wharf.

The divers were soon bringing up masses of potato sacks filled with trash from the seabed, and also large numbers of car tyres and fishing boat debris, which was collected by the rib boats we had on call, and then brought to the quayside for collection. After a few hours the weather worsened, and soon raindrops were falling, as gradually the on-shore volunteers began to return, placing their rubbish-filled sacks in the skip and taking shelter beneath the canopy. Spirits were not dampened however, and by the time the clock was approaching 13:00 we had a number of thirsty volunteers keen to take refreshments at the nearby Beachaven Complex.

Watch a video of highlights from the day

Although the terrain was quite challenging, we managed to remove a considerable amount of trash from the Fekruna Beach area

The last divers emerged from the sea, and the last sacks and larger objects taken care of, and we could survey the results of our efforts: the skip was completely full to overflowing, with plastic and rubber making up the vast majority of the waste collected, as usual. It was a great day, and we made a great effort for the environment! Soon we were sitting waterside at Beachaven, and the sun even put in an appearance! See more photos from the event here: https://www.instagram.com/whyigaming/

Divers from Atlam Sub Aqua Club and Raniero’s Adventures together with members of the EFRU celebrating the result of a great days work.