Keeping plastic out of the sea for World Oceans Day

iGEN and its members’ commitment to corporate social responsibility has lead to some truly great initiatives recently. Volunteers from some of the leading iGaming companies in Malta are giving up their free time and giving something back to the community through major environmental clean-ups.

On June 8th iGEN supported World Oceans Day with a major clean up, this time in Bahar ic Caghaq, the popular coastal destination for beach and restaurant visitors. More than 80 volunteers helped keep plastic & other waste materials out of the oceans by cleaning the coastline from Qalet Marku to Splash And Fun, as well as the floodwater drainage channel running through the village.

We had scouted out the coastline for a number of weeks in advance, and had also planned to have volunteer divers on hand to clean the seabed, but a preliminary dive in the area showed minimal waste underwater. It was decided to move the dive clean-up to Xemxija, where there was a larger problem with seabed waste.

iGEN set up a meeting point with flags on the beach next to Las Palmas, and people started to arrive at 16:00, with a planned start time of 16:30. The first wave of volunteers set off towards Qalet Marku, some cleaning along the shoreline as they went, some going directly to the entrance gate and fanning out across the peninsular, which is notorious for the amount of litter left behind by picnickers and party groups, as well as dumped building waste.

The next set of volunteers, including a number of children – which was great to see, it’s never to early to start teaching environmental responsibility – began to clean the beach and along the shoreline past Splash and Fun water park.

The third team crossed the regional road and cleaned the roadside area and among the trees, as well as removing the large amounts of rubbish dumped into the dry floodwater channel which empties out onto the beach.

Participating iGEN members were VideoSlots, PlayNorth, ComeOn Group, Kalamba, William Hill, Pariplay, Tipico, Genesis Global, Leo Vegas, Glitnor, Relax Gaming, Betsson Group, Catena Media and Games Global, and we also had volunteers from Malta Tourism Authority and the Tourism Zone Foundation, plus a number of local volunteers, family members and friends.

‘The team at Catena Media joined in force to support the iGEN Beach Cleanup on World Ocean Day 2022. It was truly inspiring to see so many members of the Gaming Industry come together for such a great cause’ Jules Bazley, VP EMEA, Catena Media

In the blistering heat, over 70 industrial sacks of waste, plus objects such as carpets, car batteries, steering wheels and office furniture were collected and removed from the environment. A big thank you to Clean Malta who collected all the rubbish the next day!

The Xemxija clean-up resulted in a whole skip full of waste material being removed from the seabed, plus volunteers from McDonalds cleared out a number of sacks of rubbish from the beach and the park behind the kiosk. The clean-up was organised by Raniero’s Adventures, Din L-Art Helwa Mellieha, Atlam Sub Aqua Club, NoToPlastic Malta and the ERRC.

David Flynn, CEO of Glitnor, who lead the clean-up of the dry floodwater channel, said: “It was great to join the 80+ volunteers clearing the area around Bahar Ic Caghaq of rubbish on Wednesday. I was surprised to find some very strange things that people throw into the valleys that ultimately find their way into the sea. From brushes, bottles and car boot components to alternators and even a steering wheel! It’s a real shame to see how Malta’s countryside and seaside is treated. Together the iGen community really made a difference and I hope helped spread a Keep Malta Tidy message at the same time. Many thanks for organising a great event. It is just such a shame they are still needed.”

At the end of all the hard work, we gathered at Las Palmas to enjoy some well-earned refreshment. The photos and comments clearly show that it had been a thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable experience!

‘…and thanks again for organizing this whole initiative, we loved taking part.’ Nina Javilak, Internal Communications Manager, Betsson

‘Just wanted to drop you an email to thank you for yesterday’s event, we really enjoyed it!’ Cristina Dimech, Relax Gaming

Enrico Bradamante, Chairman and Founder of iGEN, commented “It’s great to see a strong participation from the iGaming industry, their employees, friends and families for these feel-good initiatives that make a real difference to the environment we all live in: driving positive change”.

iGEN’s Glen Smith and Enrico Bradamante discuss the day’s successful event at the post clean-up mingle at Las Palmas. Says Glen: “It is heartening to see so many people turn out for an environmental event, and give their time and energy for such a good cause. But the reality is that we should not need to be doing this. Because the environment is not a focus of the government, ordinary people are showing up to protest at the state of the countryside through these types of events. We have good environmental laws in place, in fact some of the strictest in Europe, we just need to enforce them. And a major industry like iGaming, which employs over 10,000 people in Malta, can help show the way forward.”

iGEN, its members and partners intend to continue these CSR initiatives: next up will be an event in support of World Cleanup Day on 17th September. Hope to see you there!