Rick Buchholz and his family, working with Friends of the Earth Malta, are on a mission to clean Malta's beaches and raise awareness of the wanton pollution that threatens these otherwise pristine environments and the marine life there. A big change from their native Arizona, Rick and his family have loved being surrounded by the Mediterranean since their arrival on Malta a year ago, but were shocked to see how much litter was collecting in the bays and on the beaches.
Speaking about the problem, Rick said: "Unfortunately, it didn't take long to notice the pockets of rubbish the irresponsible public and currents had formed. I couldn't believe how much trash was floating about the surface. Later, as I was snorkeling with my daughter, I was ashamed to see the amount of debris collecting on the sea-beds."
Rick and his daughter Kaylan, both certified advanced scuba divers, now dive on one beach a week to collect litter. So far that they have collected over 300 kilos of rubbish – bottles, metals, plastics, bags, ropes, nets, tires, beer cans, signs – in their first 11 clean-up dives. Rick's wife Kathy and their daughter Kimberly have been documenting the project and raising awareness, with help from Friends of the Earth Malta, of the litter problem and the efforts to fix it.
"This project is a result of our genuine appreciation for the water and marine life, along with our ability to lend a helping-hand," Rick continued. "Our hope is to influence and inspire citizens and divers to join us, or to venture-out on their own personal campaign."