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    ESG Press Release re CUTW 2014



    ESG, organisers of CUTW since 2005, initial comments on the weekends efforts…..



    What a great job done once again by ALL CUTW volunteers yesterday! Exhausting and very hot work and a lot of awareness raised. Over twenty sites were picked clean and a massive pile created at the quarry. Green areas, coastal sites and even underwater cleaning was underway yesterday and organisers, ESG, wish to thank everyone who took part (around 500!) for rolling up their sleeves and helping restore these natural habitats to their ideal conditions – albeit temporarily in most areas…

    Our local comprehensive school teams and others also tackled diseased and non-endemic vegetation along Europa Advance Road as part of Gibraltar’s World Heritage Bid.

    A CUTW Parade and Electric car Exhibition at Casemates launched the teams this year, supported by many of our younger schools creating an energetic and impacting presence in the heart of town. With Minister Cortes, Xavier Van de Stappen and Janet Howitt addressing the rally at John Mackintosh Square.

    A report made up of feedback from teams and photographs will be published online as soon as completed. 
Gibraltar continues to see litter in many public places and the clean up campaign reminds us of this ongoing problem. These issues are highlighted in an exhibition being held at the Gibraltar Heritage Trust for the next week with proposed solutions offered. We need to get our littering under control.

    Personal pride, improved waste management, enforcement of anti-litter laws and a sustained litter campaign all form part of what we think are part of the solutions. For more please visit CUTW Exhibition at the Main Guard, John Mack Square up until the 29th September.

    Meanwhile, our local campaign was definitely made even more special this year with the presence of I-CARE, a European team promoting clean, green energy, transport lifestyle that has been very busy in their 6 day stay on the Rock. They plan to return next year and build on their contacts and projects discussed while in Gibraltar this time round.

    Huge thanks to all volunteers in whatever role they played yesterday for helping ensure a successful, safe and inspiring 2014 CUTW Day. 
Thanks also to the steering team who volunteer their time in the week leading up to the Clean up day for the considerable logistics, preparations and hard work involved!


    CUTW and I-CARE 16th September 2014

    Press Release 16th September 2014




    I-Care, led by Xavier van de Stappen, is visiting Gibraltar for a series of workshops and events in partnership with the ESG’s CUTW flagship campaign. The I-CARE is an exciting project that is currently building a number of prototype electric vehicles, made from sustainable or recycled materials that are then used in exhibitions and rallies around the world reinforcing the benefits of electric mobility. During his stay in Gibraltar, Xavier and his team will be holding a number of public workshops as well as addressing a number of schools.


    The ESG, together with I-CARE, from Belgium, will be holding an electric transport rally on the 21st September. I-CARE visit is also supported by the Government of Gibraltar as well as private sponsors. Those interested are invited to gather from 10am at Casemates for a departure and short tour at 12.00 midday.


    With participation from private firms, agencies and government vehicles confirmed in the rally so far, we hope to raise awareness about existing use of green transport in Gibraltar today. Of course, having the I-CARE team and their striking vehicles with us will help raise the profile further and, we hope, attract the public’s attention and interest.


    If you own, drive, cycle, or ride, electric vehicles or hybrids, please contact organisers at: 54960000 to register your interest in taking part in the rally. Although you are welcome to turn up at the event on the Sunday itself, it is advisable to contact us beforehand for logistics sake.



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    NEWS ALERT CUTW 2014 11/09/14

             NEWS ALERT CUTW 11th September 2014

    2014 Campaign

    The global Clean up the World takes place on the 20th September and will see millions of people in over a hundred countries taking action on this same weekend. From replanting, to clearing of vital waterways, to picking up rubbish, the scale of the campaign means that the impact is global while clearly inspiring at a local level. It will be the 22nd year of the global campaign, while, here in Gibraltar, 2014 is the tenth year of local action organised by the ESG.

    Things are now rolling for our clean up this year. Team and site details were finalised at Tuesdays’ well-attended meeting. There will be a total of 30 teams with support coming from further entities. Twenty areas have been identified.

    With our clean up teams tackling: green, seafront and upper rock sites, underwater and boat access only areas, the local environment will see direct benefit and awareness will be raised about litter problems and the need to implement further solutions.

    CUTW 2014 will also see:

    • Volunteers will carry out work on the vegetation along Europa Advance Road providing support for the World Heritage project
    • A CUTW Exhibition at the Main Guard at John Mackintosh Square from the 18th to the 29th of September

    (displays from schools, ESG, I-CARE, Gibraltar Heritage Trust, RAF fod Campaign, and more)

    • International campaigner Xavier Van de Stappen, director of I-CARE in Gibraltar between 17th-22nd September. Xavier’s great work will feature in a number of public displays during the week with his electric cars and mobile exhibition. Watch out for Xavier and his team in Casemates on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th September. Workshops and school visits are also in his itinerary. His films will be on show at the Main Guard
    • The addition of an RAF “fod campaign” will also form part of the awareness promoted by CUTW in 2014. Foreign Object Debris (litter of every type) is a daily challenge to airport safety. It is vital to promote the need for greater care by all
    • Plans are underway for a “green car rally”, to include electric and hybrid vehicles, on Sunday 21st as from 10.00am, departing midday from Casemates– we are putting out a call for interested participants and numbers will determine if this goes ahead- to be confirmed on the Saturday Parade (contact 54960000 if you are interested to take part for more details)

    The Clean up Parade on Saturday the 20th launching the campaign gathers at Casemates as from 10am and departs at 11am on its journey to John Mackintosh Square where displays and information will be set up. CUTW organisers and the Minister for the Environment will briefly address those gathered and this year will also be joined by Xavier Van de Stappen: international campaigner for green transport and sustainability. We encourage everyone to come along and support this event.


    ESG on Reclamation at Western Beach 07/09/14

    ESG on Western Beach Reclamation


    The ESG would like to clarify its position on Western beach reclamation project brought before DPC at the last meeting.  Although media coverage confirmed our opposition to this large loss of coastal water, it did not detail the many well-considered reasons why. Given public interest and our own members calling for clarification of our position, we would like to make these views public as stated at the DPC meeting.


    • The ESG would have expected the MoD, as key stakeholder affected by this project, and tasked with the responsibility of the safe running of our airport, to have been thoroughly consulted ahead of any DPC discussion
    • Fact that if our airport was of civilian status only it would not be allowed to operate due to the nature of activity around and on the runway itself (therefore all new activity needs to be heavily scrutinized in this context)
    • Airport security issues – although all involved do their best to manage and control activity around and through our airport today, this remains a very challenging situation already. Adding substantial use and increase of people and traffic movement right alongside the runway is increasing risk significantly; an issue that has to be studied at the highest level ensuring that we provide the safest flight scenario possible adhering to all International standards of safety and airport security
    • The question is now being discussed about the need for a global sporting policy for Gibraltar’s community to include UEFA stadium, Victoria Stadium Complex and all other facilities to fully gauge not just demand, but what is actually deliverable in a place the size of Gibraltar where there are many other demands for land -(Education, Eco Park and many more)
    • All studies show that this large reclamation will significantly impede water movement, flushing capacity and reduce water quality. This area is already badly contaminated and registering off the scale levels of sewage pollution outside of bathing season due to the so-called storm drain from La Linea carrying raw sewage from illegally connected pipework. In fact a second storm drain is going up as we speak at the old car park site in La Linea that will also enter Western Beach waters, worsening water quality further
    • Unless these discharges from La Linea are tackled, a large reclamation at Western Beach will create greater concentration of contamination in the area. This will create strong odours perceptible by residents, “kiosk” users, and users from the proposed reclaimed area. Indeed all signs are that Western Beach is slowly being condemned to no future public use
    • The fact that this reclamation signifies a major loss of coastal water and amenity important to many cannot be disregarded. The border difficulties have made such amenities all the more important as the majority of our community stay home in our time off. This infill also impacts on marine biodiversity and is in contrast to steps taken to improve/protect the environment by placing blocks to encourage marine life. The ESG would instead prefer to have the area cleaned up by finally seeing the La Linea discharge CLOSED and the gradual and sensitive expansion of the original programme for marine protection and conservation in the area that began with the dropping of the blocks


    In summary:- The ESG ends by stating it does not have an “in principle” issue with sport development in Gibraltar. It is also clear that in this case, the area was earmarked for development for some time now. However, under the previous Government, the plans for this project were secret, behind closed doors and never sought public feedback or approval. With the new public planning system in place today Government will note that important projects like Western Reclamation will provoke reactions from across the community. In this case, widespread opposition on serious grounds of airport security, need for greater environmental protection, loss of an important amenity and actual exacerbation of pollution present at Western Beach. It is hoped that Government will take the time needed to reconsider this project and convene a series of high-level meetings to rethink this proposal in light of the key issues presented at the DPC by several parties.

    New Statesman Interview with Janet Howitt on Gibraltar’s green credentials….. Sept 2014

    “Our mission is to fight for a clean and green Gibraltar”

    Al Gore’s visit in 2012 got the world talking about the Rock’s green agenda. Actually, says Janet Howitt of the Environmental Safety Group, activists on the Rock have been looking out for the environment for a long time.


    New Statesman: What’s the history of the Environmental Safety Group (ESG) as an NGO in Gibraltar?

    Janet Howitt: We formed in 2000 from a group of citizens who were concerned about the repairs in Gibraltar to a British nuclear submarine, HMS Tireless. The group contained teachers, scientists, engineers and activists. Most of the original group is still with the ESG today. Our mission is to fight for a clean and healthy environment, and to promote environmental issues. We run responsible, effective campaigns to help bring about positive green changes in our community. We have always maintained an apolitical stance: our independent voice is one of our strongest assets.

    NS: Would you describe Gibraltar as a “green” place?

    JH: Our community is certainly changing. When we first formed, the “environment” was handled as one of 15 separate portfolios under one minister. It was therefore not resourced enough to move forward. One of the biggest efforts we made has been to give a voice to the value of a healthy environment, as well as the need to adhere to environmental legislation and best practice. We organised protests and took to the streets, the schools, industry, wherever we could be heard, and gained considerable membership and public support.

    These days, environmental awareness is becoming easier because the internet and social media let people learn about problems and hear about possible solutions. Change is moving faster locally because of action in Europe too. Gibraltar is becoming greener, but we are quite way off to becoming a “green place”.

    NS: What are the most pressing environmental issues at the moment?

    JH: Gibraltar’s key environmental issues include local and regional factors. Impeding Gibraltar’s easy passage to a greener world is the ongoing political conflict with our neighbour Spain. This means that access to resources and facilities, and developing effective, cross-border management of the Gibraltar Bay environment, is simply not possible.

    Traffic issues are a serious problem. There are more cars than people registered in Gibraltar, and our cheap fuel attracts further thousands into Gibraltar each day simply to fill their tanks. This causes roadside pollution and exacerbates an already difficult situation at the border.

    We have struggled to meet growing energy demands, which have resulted in dependence on three ageing, fossil-fuelled power stations, well past their sell-by date. Gibraltar also runs a significant bunkering business that has seen year on year growth. It is operated with strict standards, but it’s still an area that we have focused many of our campaigns on, mainly because of noise and air pollution.

    We have also lobbied to the European Commission (EC), with the help of international law firm Hassan’s, to draw attention to harmful pollutants produced by the oil refinery and petrochemical plant across the bay in San Roque, and concerns about the health impact this was having. Together with Spanish groups, Hassan’s and, from 2006, the first MEPs to represent Gibraltar in Brussels, we are slowly starting to get the EC to listen. We continue to lodge complaints as and when necessary with the EC.

    NS: Do you believe Gibraltar’s political mood is shifting towards greener thinking?

    JH: With an ex-activist as Minister for the Environment, there is a lot more discussion and demonstration of intent on a number of environmental measures and initiatives. We are starting to see change filter through the system. It’s early days, but we are more optimistic today than ever before that Gibraltar can “green up”. The Commonwealth Park, opened in the centre of the city this year, is a great achievement. So too are the beginnings of schemes for people to access and install renewable energy systems. More needs to be done to increase ordinary citizens’ access to clean energy, full-stop. But we have started.

    NS: Al Gore made a newsworthy visit to Gibraltar’s Thinking Green Conference in 2012, where he applauded the Rock’s environmental commitments. Did his visit have a big impact?

    JH: I’m not sure that Al Gore’s visit accomplished what wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t come. It was obviously interesting to have him visit – at quite a cost. The fact is that our government had already embarked on a policy of intent on various environmental issues. The important thing now is implementation, and this is where we continue to monitor.

    NS: Is Gibraltar’s size a hindrance or a help?

    JH: Size is definitely a double-edged sword. A small community means you can pull together and literally involve almost everyone in campaigns. You can also access government in a way that is practically impossible in larger countries. However, the fact that it is a small community means that solutions to some problems require things like enforcement and fines, which can be very hard to carry out.

    NS: What sort of benefits could “going green” have for a place like Gibraltar? Could there be benefits for nearby Spanish communities?

    JH: Going green is already creating economic possibilities. More and more small businesses are gaining confidence to start up in Gibraltar because of the knowledge that new laws and measures are encouraging investment in green solutions. Even recycling, a practice that was never deemed profitable in the past, is now being run at a more substantial level, meaning more opportunities to those wishing to make a living in the trade. This growth will equate to more green jobs, and that means positive spin offs to suppliers and providers in Spain.

    NS: Where does Gibraltar see itself in the international agenda to preserve the planet?

    JH: The ESG maintains close links with NGOs on both sides of the border, including Greenpeace Spain. We’ve created cross-border groups like the Bay Bucket Brigade, which operated for a number of years collecting air samples to back up our complaints again the CEPSA Oil Refinery in San Roque to the EC. As a long-term member of Clean up the World, the ESG forms part of a global campaign supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    We are more confident today of positive green change than we were five years ago. However, many things have to shift in the way our community behaves – from the main economic pillars that support us, to the decisions we take on development issues and planning. We need a holistic plan for a Gibraltar that embraces best available technology and we need to do this as quickly as possible.