Maltese national Mark Galea Pace has been recognised by the Queen as the winner of the Commonwealth’s Point of Light award for his environmental contribution to the local community.
Mark, a fitness instructor and environmental activist who set out on a solo three-day boat trip cleaning beaches and raising awareness about marine litter polluting the sea, was raising money for local NGO Nature Trust Malta.
The NGO is committed to the conservation of Maltese nature by promoting environmental awareness and managing areas of natural and scientific interest.
While completing the challenge, Mark collected 52 bags and 20 jerry cans full of rubbish and has since embarked on additional solo clean-ups around the Island, inspiring large groups of volunteers in Malta to kayak around the archipelago and gather rubbish from the sea and beaches.
Katherine Ward, British High Commissioner to Malta said:
“It gives me great pleasure to recognise Mark Galea Pace’s achievement and commitment to improving the environment for all. His solo, three-day kayaking journey around Malta, collecting over 50 bags of rubbish and raising money for environmental charities demonstrates what an impact one person can have.
“That he continues to inspire others to take action in the here and now to save our planet is a testament to his efforts. I am delighted to present this year’s Commonwealth Points of Light award in Malta to someone who is making a real contribution to ensure the world we live in is a better place for all.”
In response to receiving the award, Mark said:
“I have total respect and admiration for the Queen, so this prestigious award comes as a huge honour to me. What better way to use my strength and fitness as an ex-waterpolo player, than to be able to inspire people to take action and bring about change.
“Whether alone or with a handful of volunteers, I will remain determined to search and collect, week in week out, as much plastic and fishing debris from our coastline and seas, because marine life does not get a break from the litter we leave behind that threatens their survival.”
Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making a change in their community. Every weekday the Prime Minister recognises an inspirational volunteer with the Daily Point of Light award.
The UK’s Point of Light programme was launched in 2014.