Ministry for Gozo supports initiatives for maritime environment protection and security at sea
Initiatives coordinated by the Emergency Rescue Response Corps (ERRC) in Gozo are benefiting from a total grant of €50,000 under the scheme launched by the Ministry for Gozo for Non Governmental organisations related to the eco-Gozo action plan 2010-2012. This voluntary organisation, who is working for the safety and protection in Gozo will therefore be receiving the maximum amount allocated for NGOs under this financial scheme.
The ERRC will be using these funds to implement 2 projects: Green Wave and GASART (Gozo Aquatic Search and Rescue Team) which include various measures related with the promotion and safeguarding of the maritime environment, as well as an educational campaign to further promote health and safety at sea, especially amongst children. These two projects, amongst others, will include the cleaning of sea bed used in zones frequented by both local and foreign divers. With the cooperation also of some 300 Gozitan fisherman, the ERRC will also be collecting fishing nets which are lost at sea, resulting in the killing of fish that will be trapped in these nets. This initiative will result in a drastically decrease of what is known as ghost fishing. In the mean time, an educational campaign amongst children is taking place during Skola Sajf which is organised by the Gozo College whereby students are being taught how to respect better the maritime environment. This campaign will also be extended to the general public and boat owners.
Another initiative will be that of offering persons with disability the possibility of experiencing diving sessions by trained persons from the ERRC. GASART will also focus on the improvement of equipment and other facilities provided by the ERRC so as to better offer their lifeguard services and other emergency services in Comino and in some Gozitan bays.
This information was given during an activity where the Minister for Gozo, the Hon. Giovanna Debono attended, accompanied by a number of ERRC members. The Minister Debono explained how these two projects, Green Wave and GASART, are in line with a number of measures found in the eco-Gozo action plan 2010-2012, amongst which the protection of the maritime environment and a better quality of life without exclusion. The Minister applauded all work done for the community by this voluntary organisation which is also involving a number of youths. "The Ministry for Gozo sustains voluntary work initiatives because it recognises the benefits they offer" concluded the Hon. Giovanna Debono.
In the summer months, the ERRC are concentrating their operations in coastal areas, especially in Ramla Bay in Gozo and Blue Lagoon in Comino where they are providing a lifeguard service with the collaboration of the Ministry for Gozo, MTA and GAIA foundation. In the past days, due to strong winds, this service proved to be very useful for seven swimmers in Comino and another three in Ramla who found themselves in difficulty while swimming.
12. 08. 2011