Tackling plastic litter from shotgun ammunition: A Local Perspective
Litter from shotgun cartridges has been a leading issue when it comes to areas where hunters could decrease their imprint on the environment, particularly now that a formal agreement on Miżieb and Aħrax has been signed between the FKNK and the Government.
Whilst some hunters may take it upon themselves to follow the letter of the law and clean up after themselves, others have continued breaking the law with impunity. There are multiple ways to help minimise this issue, both from a legislative perspective and on an individual level.
Starting from a legislative perspective, the purchasing of ammunition in Malta is hard enough as it is – both in terms of importing, and purchasing for personal use. Following the laws of economics, this means that businesses that sell such ammunition are forced to import only what is commercially-viable to them.
Making it easier and more cost-efficient to import environmentally-friendly ammunition would go a long way when it comes to giving hunters the choice. This could be done through green-tax-credits, or an overall relaxing of import/selling of such ammunition.
On the other hand, for those who are less comfortable with the State flexing its power over individuals, a societal push for increasing awareness of the issue would help tremendously. Hunters themselves are known to be rabid conservationists, however oxymoronic that may sound, and the few bad apples are not immune to pressure from their peers.
Civil society working in tandem, rather than in opposition to hunters, will help tremendously in finding common ground and reducing the level of waste in the environment. This could be through joint fundraising events, joint cleaning drives, or even joint hunting events (or range visits for those opposed to hunting for enjoyment rather than necessity). Funds from these events could be invested in supplying cleaning equipment to both sides whilst increasing their ability to work together.
Keeping our environment clean is not a zero-sum game for anyone – we all need green spaces, and finding common ground is the way forward.