Raising environmental awareness amongst the public has become a primary focus for the Ministry responsible for the Environment, Malta Environment & Planning Authority (MEPA) and HSBC Cares For The Environment Fund (HCEF). Towards this end, these three organizations, in collaboration with Forestals, have launched a highly interesting documentary “Journey into the depths of the Mediterranean”, produced by Shaun Arrigo.
MEPA co-funded this project through the EIPP fund. The aim of the EIPP is to enhance and protect Malta's natural environment and cultural heritage using funds secured through what is known as 'Planning Gain'. Planning Gain is often sought by MEPA as a means of environmental compensation for impacts that may result from development, which impacts cannot be reasonably mitigated. The 'Planning Gain' used in this case was a condition imposed on the development application permit granted for the construction of the Radisson SAS Golden Sands Resort.
The film, launched at St James Cavalier to a packed auditorium of school children from St Joseph Blata l-Bajda, De La Salle College and Mqabba Primary will be available in both Maltese and English. Copies of the film will be distributed to all state, church and private schools by the Ministry, HSBC and MEPA for use as a classroom aide.
The documentary offers a visual experience of marine life found in the seas around the Maltese archipelago, where over a hundred living creatures are beautifully captured and accurately described. It gives a detailed explanation of the origins of the Mediterranean Sea, and an in-depth description of life in today’s Mediterranean, covering organisms and habitats of the sea floor as well as conservation issues.
The DVD has bonus material in the form of a detailed index of over 40 different Fish and Invertebrates. The description of each animal includes details of their sources of food, and their spawning. The result is a delightful film to anyone with an interest in the marine world. Students, divers, photographers, and the general viewer will be captivated by this visually stunning production of underwater life.
“This documentary touches upon two fundamental environmental pillars that this Government has nurtured through its commitment to conserve the environment. The first is the need to take the Maltese people closer to the biodiversity that the Maltese archipelago is enriched with. The more we learn about our natural heritage, the greater will the understanding of society will be,” said Minister for Rural Affairs and the Environment, George Pullicino. “More often than not, we end up talking about environment protection and in many instances many people out there do not know what we are trying to protect. Another environmental pillar of this administration is its commitment towards environmental education targeting schools. This documentary is in line with the very valid work of Eko-Skola and provides yet another useful tool for the environmental education in Malta,” he continued saying.
“It was a beautiful experience to observe such marine creatures in their natural habitats. This dvd is a first of its kind and all footage has been shot and catalogued over the past five years in and around the Maltese Islands. I would like to thank all the sponsors for their great support,” said Shaun Arrigo, producer and cameraman of the film.
“One of HSBC’s priorities is to preserve and protect the environment and, we believe, one important way of achieving these aims is through educating children about our nature and raising awareness of the importance of conservation,” said Richard Reid, Director HSBC Cares For The Environment Fund.
Through the EIPP scheme, MEPA is currently also financing various other projects in and around the Maltese Islands. These include the restoration of dilapidated historic buildings and structures, maintenance of derelict archaeological sites, tree planting projects, embellishment works, and projects related to the marine environment.