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  • Plastics What a dilemma..! 27th January 2018

    Plastic waste in the natural environment has now become a major priority for environmentalists and policy makers.

    At long last we may now start seeing real change from manufacture to the consumer – change is needed at every level and at every stage of handling and consumption.

    An interesting read is a comprehensive document produced and published a week or so ago by the EU paper on how it proposes the problem of plastic waste must be tackled.

    It is successful in including all the relevant factors but it needs to inject more urgency in the process. Public pressure must be maintained and volunteers need to continue to pull  plastic waste out of natural habitats and ecosystems.


    Link for paper here:  


    ESG Radio Newsletter 25/01/18

    Key Words:  DPC/ New Centre / Community Support/ Volunteers / New Cleaning Contract/ Plastics !!


    With January fast coming to a close the ESG would like to offer some information on issues it is following very closely.


    With planning, for example, yesterday saw the first 2018 DPC meeting, that’s the Development and Planning Commission, lasting close to 5 hours. Many items were on the agenda and a note to those interested that detailed minutes of all such mtgs are eventually posted on the Town Planning Website, clicking on the DPC page. The local media have today focused on the proposed new clay pigeon shooting, schools and apartment projects. You can find out all about those in the press. The ESG also raised concerns about a new marine diesel-fuelling project for the Port and had recommended fume capture technology, which was discussed and conditioned as part of the permit.


    We are presently going through a busy and very positive period in developing our small base with a great team of volunteers, and also involved in a series of talks and presentations. This forms a major part of our outreach programme which is brought about via the community wide Clean up the World Campaign we have run for the past 13 years. It helps maintain a focus on our natural environment and need for greater civic pride as well as shine a light on all key environmental issues we face as a community.


    Our community has also been generous in assisting us in our work and centre with recent donations very gratefully received from Bassadone Gibraltar and Eroski. We thank them both very sincerely.


    Clean up the World has since 2005 tackled specific clean ups in green areas, coastal and underwater sites and cliffs. All these are important wildlife habitats as well part of our homeland and their historic neglect has fuelled our passion to see this change. With persistence and sustained lobbying things are changing and we hope a new cleaning contract, soon to be awarded to take Gibraltar onto another level of care and maintenance will eliminate more of our clean up hotspots.


    Plastics: Global awareness of the plastic threat has reached new heights with news emerging daily of the urgency and scale of the problems. The UK has been exposed in its failure to cope with its plastic recycling sending a vast amount of this waste collected to China. The UK Govt is now pledging to do more- clearly a lot more is needed. The EU only last week published a paper on how it proposes this issue must be tackled from production through to consumer and while a critical and impressive document it lacks urgency and immediate action, enforcement etc. It also makes one ask how well is Europe handling its recycling objectives??


    You can find links to these reports and more on our website esg-gib.net


    We look forward to hearing from you and thanks for listening.

    Radio Newsletter 11th January 2018

    Key words:  Voluntary clean ups continue/ Presentations/ ESG Aims and Objectives/ Cross Border / Community Support /  Fireworks


    Hello there- here is our first newsletter for 2018! Good to be back on air after Christmas and New Year. While taking a break ourselves we have still managed to maintain links within the community regarding presentations, receiving reports and even carrying out clean ups. Yes, the festive season brings about an increase in outdoor social littering too and when this affects coastal sites, it becomes a serious problem. So it was rewarding to be able to work with a group of young students in early January where we gathered several bags of mainly plastic waste and filled one ton sacks of assorted large items fly tipped into a green area on the east side of the Rock. What a shame to see such wanton dumping. We live in an enriched environment blessed with wildlife and beauty and we must make greater efforts to instil its value into every citizen. It is also important to have more visible signs urging people to protect and not litter their environment. The ESG will follow up with its recommendations to the authorities as it does after every major clean up, in the hope that more and more of these will be absorbed into day to day practice.


    We have more presentations planned in the coming weeks that will also involve outreach components to engage those interested in volunteering and helping out in our projects.


    As many already know our focus is not only in cleaning up our environment, important though that is – we also monitor and lobby for cleaner air and improvements in our traffic and transport system which impacts so heavily on our health and on our quality of life. We have engaged in many meetings with the authorities during 2017 pressing for best practice in every sphere of industrial activity and we shall persist in these aims.


    Gibraltar is also too small to allow unlimited vehicle numbers and movement and we shall make efforts this year to ensure the powers that be take on this complex issue to deliver real results for the benefit of all. Businesses must also get on board and consider the impact their activity is having and set targets to limit their pollution too.


    At cross border level we shall embark with a fresh impetus to re-examine the status of the chemical industries and Oil Refinery across the border and explore all mechanisms to see these better regulated.


    As a non-governmental organisation we rely very much on contact and support from the community and look forward to working together in the coming months for a better environment. The ESG would also like to give tribute to other local NGOs who passionately follow their interests year round – they do invaluable work.


    On a less positive note we wanted to mention that we share concerns voiced by many about the overwhelming impacts from fireworks during the New Year period. It is not about stopping the fun, or not appreciating how much people enjoy it. It is also about the very real and negative impacts noisy and sudden bangs have on the frail and the vulnerable. We are a caring community as well as fun loving and it is very important to be inclusive for everyone to enjoy this special night. Silent fireworks yes please – bring them on!!


    For those who follow development issues in Gibraltar the next DPC mtg is set for the 24th January.Visit our website: esg-gib.net or email us at esg@gibtelecom.net for more information.


    Radio Broadcast 14th December 2017

    ESG Radio Newsletter 141217


    Looking ahead to 2018 the ESG will continue pursuing its aims for a safer and healthier Gibraltar by focusing on all its core objectives set out and available for anyone interested to access on our website, that’s esg-gib.net. Our target areas include: climate change and local actions to address this, pollution from all sources, energy generation, particularly renewable energy, traffic and transport issues, cross border impacts, sewage treatment and infrastructure, development and sustainable planning, port impacts, waste treatment-recycling and litter, tourism and beaches, conservation and the updating of the Environmental Action and Management Plan.


    Yes, it’s a lot of issues but then, the environment includes everything and we are all affected by these too. We believe that our promotion of these issues over the years has raised a lot of awareness among the community as can be increasingly seen during our many recent talks and presentations and by the quality of debates and discussions generally out there.


    Our new home at Wellington Front is starting to take shape and we are confident of developing some exciting ideas in the first quarter of 2018 to engage interested parties in a number of environmental projects. We have faced quite a lot of costs in the move and appeal now for donations, big or small, all welcomed – please get in touch if you would like to help us out with this – email esg@gibtelecom.net. Thanks to those of you who have already stepped forward to help with this.


    The ESG met with the Minister for Transport very recently to raise concerns which are mostly contained within the Sustainable Traffic and Transport Plan. This is a key issue for many people and we invite you to go to our news section on our website for more details on that meeting.


    A lengthy meeting also took place with the Minister for the Environment to review key issues on sewage, shipping pollution, development, progress on the new power station and a lot more. The ESG will continue to table these issues to ensure they remain high on the agenda for change. It was very positive to hear about legislative changes to allow individuals to feed back excess energy from renewable sources to the grid. This, along with a move to wider use nationally of renewable energy, has been an important objective for us and we must congratulate the Minister for getting this done. We now want to see protocols, information, guidelines and recommendations provided so the public can take the next step. We also hope that financial assistance packages and incentives will be expanded to incentivise people further.


    There have been a number of positive announcements recently that will help our environment. We hope to see many more including the publication of the new Town and Heritage Acts particularly when planning and development is scheduled to come under immense pressure from the multiple construction projects announced. The ESG has its own views about the rate and pace of development and the need to complete so many projects at the same time. We shall continue to express and communicate these going forward into the new year hoping that necessary regard will be given to important vistas, open spaces, light and need for greenery between so much concrete development.


    On that note, the last 2017 DPC meeting take place tomorrow morning at the John Mackintosh Hall and it promises to be interesting one if you have the chance to attend. Mtg starts at 9.30am.


    So Happy Christmas ! Be mindful of the environment during the coming weeks and also spare a thought for those less fortunate.


    Congratulations also to GBC for another successful Open Day event too.

    See you in 2018!

    ESG welcomes Renewable Energy Feedback to Grid 12/12/17

    The ESG strongly welcomes the excellent news that consumers of the Gibraltar Electricity Authority will soon be able to feed electricity generated at home from renewable sources, back into the grid.


    This objective has been a long-term aim of the group who regard this announcement by Government as very positive indeed.


    The group now awaits confirmation of the amendment to the bill once it has gone through Parliament and will also be seeking a discussion with Government on what protocols, systems and equipment will be favoured or promoted for the public to follow and use to feed back energy to the grid as this information will assist the community in taking the first important steps in setting up green energy at home. The success of this programme will help reduce some of Gibraltar’s carbon emissions and is therefore good news indeed.


    The ESG further hopes that financial incentives will be offered to help more people embark on setting up renewable energy systems in the home or workplace.

    ESG on Transport 12/12/17

                                         ESG Press Release on Transport Issues                              

    The ESG recently held a lengthy meeting with the Minister for Transport and his team and presented concerns and objectives on this issue. The group was grateful to the Minister for the time given and for his consideration of all issues raised.

    The ESG expressed the need for a bold timeline for implementation of key measures. This it considers a central issue because otherwise there is a danger that proposed measures will take too long to be implemented or might not be acted on at all. It would also provide the community with some indication of the proposed rolling out of significant measures as well as encourage participation and support.

    The issues of idling controls, diesel phase-out and greater incentivisation of electric and hybrid transport were also touched on. Electric buses were also discussed, as were a number of new measures to be introduced soon to promote and further improve the public transport system. Infrastructure for a future growth in electric vehicle ownership was also discussed. Information signs to encourage walking, announced some time ago, still need to be put up, and the ESG understands this is now imminent. The group welcomes the signs on idling at the border.

    The point was raised as to what the Government was going to do to change the “car culture”, via education, something advocated in the STTPP. This is an issue that needs to be seriously addressed if any significant changes are going to be seen in our community’s tendency to be very car-dependent. A promotion campaign in the media would also be useful here.

    The ESG approved the long awaited action finally taken to control deliveries to the town centre and raised teething issues reported to them i.e new commercial loading bays being used by private cars and need for enforcement. This was something that the Ministry was aware of, and planning to address.

    Inevitably, the perennial problem of excess traffic on our roads was raised. The ESG suggested that the ‘Park and Ride’ system that was on the cards years ago, should finally be implemented. This could considerably reduce the number of visiting cars going into the town area. The group also raised concerns about future plans for the new runway tunnel and mobility factors. Clarification was sought on what would happen to pedestrians once the new runway tunnel was operational and expressed the desire to see dedicated shuttles, increased bus services, or even a tram system to mobilise people efficiently.

    A matter that we would also like to see tackled, that is not within the STTP specifically, is the existing situation where second hand buses, which emit harmful pollutants, are still allowed on our roads. Whereas new buses are subjected to very strict polluting laws, buses which have already been imported into the EU, but which no longer comply with existing requirements, are still allowed to operate within the same area. The ESG believes action must be taken by the authorities on this to tackle high levels of roadside pollution even though EU regulations are not being flouted.

    The ESG urges the Government to commit the necessary funds to the implementation of many more of the initiatives suggested in the STTPP, so that they will be in place within the targeted time line.

    The group welcomed the Ministry’s plans to roll out a number of measures that should bring about further improvements soon and agreed to meet more regularly to monitor these more closely.

    Radio Newsletter 23rd November 2017

    Radio Broadcast:

    Key words:

    Lobbying Government/ Seven Sisters Clean up/ Alternatives to plastics/Microbeads/Christmas and Recycling/DPC


    We are busy these weeks tackling various areas of concern and interest to us and holding meetings with Government on traffic, development, pollution and more.

    We shall post updates on progress on our webpage.


    You may have seen some news in the media of a group of ESG volunteers carrying out a clean up at Seven Sisters, now a protected area that collects marine debris with the tides and given its remote location, very difficult to clean on a regular basis. However, with the community support behind CUTW we can and have tackled this site since 2008 removing historic dumping of waste of significant proportions, filling many skips over the years. Today we can confidently predict the task will be somewhat smaller as we deal with the waste that has floated in during the past 12 months. Still, large volumes of plastics of all types and Styrofoam – the packaging material that is so prevalent in every aspect of our lives, is still found there in horrendous quantities, and we filled six 1 ton sacks. The issue of Styrofoam needs exploring further as to how more of this can be removed. This petroleum based plastic material breaks down into very small particles and can be mistaken for food so clearly a threat to nature and the food chain.

    Still, our clean up was a very positive if tiring few hours for our group leaving the site looking a lot better. Thanks to the GDP for boat access and GibDock for eventual lifting up of rubbish collected. Future clean ups will be published and volunteers are welcome.


    While many are rightly concerned about the major issue of plastic pollution there is also a rising tide of solutions, technologies and ideas to deal with this issue. Biodegradable alternatives for all single use plastics should also become enforceable by law and soon.


    Following on from the efforts by Govt, businesses and NGOs recently to highlight the need for action on the elimination of plastic bags, this week’s publication on microbeads legislation by the Gibraltar Government is also welcomed. The world needs more of this action.


    Citizens can all help by using less of these materials where possible. As we now look ahead to Christmas, Black Friday and manic shopping sprees the impact on waste and the environment will also peak – we urge everyone to help by being responsible with their waste and aiming to reduce and recycle as much as possible! We shall be holding an open day on the 6th December mainly aimed at Eco Art but with a Green Christmas theme. More details will be published beforehand.


    Before we go a reminder that the Planning Commission will meet next Tuesday 28th November with the final 2017 session taking pace on the 15th December. You can upload agendas from the Town Planning DPC page and the public are welcome to attend mtgs, which start from 9.30am.

    You can find more information about our general concerns and aims at esg-gib.net. Call us in 200-48996 or email us at esg@gibtelecom.net



    ESG organise another Seven Sisters Clean up 16/11/17

    ESG Press Release 16th November 2017

    Seven Sisters Coastline Cleared of Plastics and harmful waste


    CUTW Campaign continued its work last weekend with a group of volunteers tackling the beautiful coastline known as Seven Sisters. The Gibraltar Defence Police Marine Section helped us on and off the site with the team getting down to an intense period of activity for around 4 hours duration.


    While this area has seen clean ups for the past 9 years, with many skip loads of historic dumping removed, each year sees fresh marine debris brought in with the tide. A lot of this is trapped in the upper reaches of the beach, while some closer to the waters edge is at risk of re-entering the sea during winter storms.


    It is with great satisfaction therefore that the volunteers were able to remove six x 1-ton sacks of non-biodegradable waste, mainly plastics, Styrofoam and a number of large objects, leaving a much cleaner environment in our wake. A full report is being produced and will shortly be submitted to the Ministry for the Environment who has upgraded this zone to protected status in recent years.


    Thanks to all volunteers, to the GDP, to GibDock for assisting with crane removal of the waste, and to the Dept. of the Environment for assistance rendered also.


    You can find out more about this beautiful part of Gibraltar’s coastline by visiting the online real-time underwater footage at:





    Also visit this link for some pictures of the clean up:- 



    ESG Radio Newsletter 9th November 2017

    Radio news broadcast 9th November on Radio Gibraltar


    Key words:     Public debate –    ESG Objectives –    New Power Station and LNG –     Maritime Pollution Transport  –    Construction –    New waste plant –   Sewage Treatment –     Seven Sisters Clean up coming up!


    Hi there  – We would like to provide an update on matters of local environmental issues which we know matter to many. Indeed this week saw a public debate led by an MP on environmental issues.

    Our aims and concerns as a grassroots environmental NGO can be found on our website at esg-gib.net – under objectives, and an easy read of all local and regional environmental issues. We have been lobbying for these since the year 2000 and have called for cross party consensus for environmental action and policy and will continue to work for these objectives.

    Turning to the new power station and LNG plant- new equipment has arrived which includes real-time monitoring systems and we look forward to being able to see these first-hand soon. This measure was a critical factor that gave us some peace of mind knowing that emissions will be transparently monitored with information fed publicly via an online system, much as the existing air monitoring data is at present. More news on this soon.

    We also are working on issues of maritime pollution by following up with the relevant authorities on measures we would like to see in place that will help reduce pollution levels and impacts. This is vitally important to see achieved before the next wave of hot weather is upon us.

     Transport issue is a big concern for everyone including the ESG and we are also following up on this with mtgs with policy makers to present our issues directly and press for the aims set out in the Sustainable Transport and Traffic Plan.

    Construction works and new developments are also being widely felt today and a concern to many. We call for the new Town Act to be published without further delay and for more details to be provided by Government on major developments as well as on their vision for the rest of our homeland.

     As we continue to grow, our basic services must be completed, such as our sewage treatment plant, new power station that will allow feed in from micro renewable energy systems and the new Waste Park, that will manage all our waste to high stds locally and maximise recycling. We continue to monitor these.

     These projects, coupled with a bold transport plan to clear our streets, manage traffic and improve air quality, will take us into a better environmental space. Clearly where and how we develop Gibraltar’s remaining open spaces should be a matter for the whole community and this is under considerable pressure at present and is worthy of greater scrutiny and debate.

    Food for thought indeed.

    This weekend will see our volunteers in action once again removing harmful plastics from a beautiful coastal site known as Seven Sisters that wasn’t tackled at our last clean up. Hope you continue to think plastics too and reduce your own use as much as possible and do your bit on this growing environmental threat.

    Thanks for listening!

    ESG Radio Newsletter 26th October 2017

    ESG Radio Newsletter 26th October, 2017


    This week we bring you highlights from our CUTW campaign and other developments. We are currently presenting certificates to schools and clubs for all the youngsters who participated in cleaning up Gibraltar. For some this will be combined with talks and workshops and we look forward to a busy autumn of sharing and caring about these issues. Volunteers were pleased to see their efforts recognised a few weeks ago with a reception held by the Chief Minister. After 13 years of clean ups it was welcome to see the campaign thanked by Gibraltar’s highest office.


    Clean up is not over though and there are one or two large challenging sites that could still be tackled this autumn. If you are willing, fit and able send us an email and we shall add you to the list to esg@gibtelecom.net.


    A big part of Clean up the World is to prevent and contain our rubbish and we highlight this alongside our litter problems. This is especially acute given our island environment. As use of plastics grow in modern communities, so do the levels of plastic waste found on our cliffs, beaches, shoreline and green areas.


    It was therefore very positive to see the recent Press Conference take place in Gibraltar this week led by the Minister for the Environment and his team with a number of NGOs. The presentation was all about plastic waste as a major threat and hazard to marine life and seabirds, and ultimately, to us the human species, as microplastics work their way into the food chain. The ESG focused on the major litter and dumping issues in early years of clean ups and how this has generally improved as services and facilities have grown. In its place though we are finding growing amounts of plastic waste of every description from every sector of the community and this is unacceptable. We have much work to do.


    The global plastic issue has now reached crisis proportions and is mentioned with the same frequency as climate change. We commend the efforts being made locally to encourage retailers and consumers to reduce the amount of single use plastic waste they are responsible for. The Nautilus Project and Department of the Environment have been focusing on the single use plastic bag issue recently and the community is responding. We hope all businesses and related associations will get behind this too. The ESG and GONHS have together launched plastic based campaigns in the past such as No2plastic bags and the halting of the mass release of plastic balloons on National Day. However this very direct and combined approach supported by Government to bring retailers on board is great news.


    But you can help too – it only takes a little effort to make a big difference and you can start today by saying no to the plastic bag!

    GBC Rock Explorer programme will be showing footage from CUTW 2017 action next week– this is on Monday 30th October at 9pm and repeated during that week. Spread the word!

     Reminder that the next DPC session takes place on Tuesday, 31st October at 9.30am- you can check agenda online following the town planning website and DPC link.

    For info on other local environmental issues visit www.esg-gib.net.


    See following links for media coverage on plastic bag Press Conference

    Chronicle:-     http://chronicle.gi/2017/10/gib-joins-forces-to-reduce-plastic-use/


    YourGibraltarTV:       https://www.yourgibraltartv.com/politics/15703-oct-24-local-businesses-morisson-s-eroski-and-m-s-commit-to-reducing-plastic-use


    GBC:      http://www.gbc.gi/news/morrisons-eroski-and-ms-commit-banning-plastic-bags