4,000 plastic bottles collected during clean-ups across Gozo have been used to create an image of Christ which will go on display at Ta’ Pinu from today. The work of art, created by Joseph Barbara, is the brainchild of Cast Out, a project to collect plastic waste and convert it into art. The project, launched by Joanne Curtis, a UK journalist resident in Gozo, is being supported by The Melita Foundation.
Speaking ahead of the unveiling, Ms Curtis said, “Everyday, we cast out tons of plastic and while there are lots of initiatives out there to reduce waste, the fact is that our countryside is littered with trash. By creating impactful art we’re finding a creative way to recycle this rubbish while highlighting just how big the problem is and hopefully encouraging people to think about their own behaviour. I’m delighted with the response of communities across Gozo to this initiative, which has been phenomenal, and really looking forward to seeing Joseph’s wonderful artwork prominently displayed at Ta’ Pinu. I’m also very grateful for the support which this project has received from The Melita Foundation.”
Throughout the project, which began at the start of this summer, two groups of volunteers have been conducting weekly clean-ups at numerous localities across Gozo. Apart from the plastic bottles which have been used to create the artwork, these volunteers have collected some 451 sacks of litter, car tyres, rusted machinery, discarded sinks and toilets as well as dead animals. As a result of the commitment shown by the volunteers and the interest in the project shown by schools across the island, Cast Out is continuing to organise clean-ups across Gozo, despite having now completed the original artwork project. The rubbish collected is being handled responsibly by Eco-Gozo.
Simon Montanaro, Vice-Chair of The Melita Foundation, said, “One of The Melita Foundation’s core objectives is to promote sustainability and care for the environment. We all know the harm caused by plastics and their negative impact both on wildlife and agriculture. Projects like this are a great way to reinforce the message that awareness is not enough and that we have a collective responsibility to act.”
The Melita Foundation was established in February 2020 with an initial donation of €500,000 from Apax Partners, owners of Melita Limited until May 2019. With the full support of EQT, the company’s current owners, all the Foundation’s expenses are being funded entirely by Melita Limited. This means that 100 per cent of the funds available to the Foundation are being used to support projects. Since being established, the foundation has already allocated more than €150,000 to various projects with more than €50,000 going to environmental initiatives.
More information on the Melita Foundation and how to apply for funding is available at www.melitafoundation.org.