This local diver is raising awareness & making a real change to clean up Malta’s seas
Raniero's Adventures is setting an example.
With so much environmental degradation and negligence going on in the world today, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when solutions seem hard to conceive and even harder to affect. And here in Malta, the Maltese have unfortunately never been particularly good at safeguarding the islands’ natural assets. While our houses are clean, historically, our streets have remained dirty.
Raniero's Adventures - Live Life / Facebook
Luckily, recent years have seen some people take action. Tired of seeing our beautiful rock covered in the detritus of human existence, they have not felt disheartened. Instead, they’ve picked up a shovel and taken action, organising clean-ups and fun runs in aid of safeguarding our environment. Scuba diver Raniero Borg, a well-known personality within the diving community, has also taken things into his own hands, seeking to draw attention to anything which needs addressing through his popular Facebook page: Raniero’s Adventures.
“I started the page two years’ ago to raise awareness of anything which I thought needed to be dealt with. The idea came to me when I went diving one day at Qawra Point. There’s a sea-water pool at the tip known as Ta’ Fra Ben which is very popular with families, and it’s filled with children snorkelling. But that day, when I went down, I saw iron bars in the water, posing a real danger to kids. Families going down there thought their children were safe in the water, but it wasn’t the case. So, I put it up on Facebook, and there was an immediate reaction! The bay was closed to the public, and within 24-48 hours, the bars had been removed,” Raniero tells me.
The power of social media put to good use, Raniero knew this was a way of reaching an audience and making a difference. “Some people don’t care, but I do. I go diving a lot, and you can really make an impact with today’s technology. I’ve always loved video, so nowadays I go down with my GoPro and film,” Raniero says. And this dedication and love for his home island has reaped its rewards for all of us islanders.
The videos he uploads on the page – in aid of a tidier, cleaner Malta both above and below the sea - have instigated the clearing of furniture which had been unceremoniously dumped in the countryside, as well as the installation of new railings in Wied il-Mielah, Gozo, replacing the old rusty, broken ones leading down to the water. “After I put the videos up and have drawn some attention to the issue, I always go and check that something has been done. And of course, I always thank people for taking notice and helping to bring about positive change,” he continues.
Kristu tal-Bahhara / Facebook
Raniero was always one to take an initiative. He started diving 35 years’ ago and several years’ later, together with other members from the diving community, he organised the submerging of a statue of Jesus Christ, just off St Paul’s island, to commemorate the visit of Pope John Paul II. And yes, the Pope actually blessed the piece! “That event brought the largest number of people ever to St Paul’s island. There were over 1,000 people in May 1990. The Pope was only meant to come for 15 minutes – just enough time to give his blessing – but he ended up staying until he saw the statue go down into the sea,” Raniero recalls. The statue has since been moved to just off the shore of Qawra point - due to the polluting debris from the fish farms near by - but divers and enthusiasts can still visit.
Kristu tal-Bahhara / Facebook
Today, Raniero also helps to organise clean-ups every month with Andrew Schembri from Zibel and Edward Sultana from No to Plastic Malta. “We met at another event, but we immediately understood we had the same goals,” he says, while going on to explain that there’s much to do, with beaches around the island needing some tender loving care. “The cleanest sites are Golden Bay and Mellieha Bay since they are always kept very clean and there’s a real effort being made. The worst is Paradise Bay, mainly due to the currents which bring in trash from the sea and which ends up there, on land,” he explains.
And indeed, Paradise Bay is the place for a clean-up happening this week. “Everyone can make a difference and help, whether they’re divers or not. They can come and give us a hand, clearing what has been washed up on the shore,” he encourages. If every single one of us rolled up their sleeves, this island would be a cleaner, more pristine Mediterranean spot of land.