We are pleased to announce that although this year was an extraordinary year, due to the COVID19 pandemic, our school managed to place 2nd in a YRE International Video Competition.
We are all very satisfied with this achievement and of course, all this was possible thanks to great teamwork and communication.
To make up a professional, effective, and meaningful three-minute video, was not an easy task. But thanks to our hard work and dedication, we made it!
Yet, the school committee in charge of Informal Education Events would like to congratulate the students: Katriel Zahra (11.8), Kylieanne Apap (10.7), Annastasia Darmanin (10.1), Aceline Grixti (10.1), Martina Magro (10.2) and Maruska Pulis (10.8) for this amazing international success.
Finally, a huge well done goes to ALL other students who all did a great job in article writing, poem writing and submission of other videos. Many thanks to all educators involved especially Mr Martin Azzopardi who is always willing to contribute with students’ entries.
All together we make wonders! However, we do encourage all the students at our school, including those who never involved themselves to participate – feel free to contact me if you think you can do something for our environment. Such lifelong learning opportunities do not come very often in our life and it is amazing how students mature when after they get involved in these projects. I also encourage students to follow online webinars organized by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) as they help us to reflect further about our environment and how can we contribute for a better living.
We take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for this scholastic year and best wishes to you and your loved ones for the festive season.
“In life, always remember to act to your ambitions”.
“Go Green and Help Save the Environment”.
Ms. Flavia Grima
Committee Chairperson and YRE / LEAF Link Educator
Considering all the restrictions due to the Coronavirus, this year there was a record of submissions as there were 237 entries in total (Malta & Gozo). It’s good to know that categories this year were varied – apart from the usual YRE and litterless, we also participated in the YREstayshome section, where students had to be creative in reporting from home. Ms Audrey Gauci (Nature Trust Coordinator) told me that she is very proud of our students as they all did a lot of effort during this extraordinary time while they did a great job!
Apart from the successful entries mentioned by Mr Martin Azzopardi, I must share with you the GREAT NEWS!!!! The video where we interviewed the three Cottonera Mayors and we also did a vox-pop at Vittoriosa Street Market, ended up placing 1st in the Litterless category!!!!!! It was worth spending so much time editing and including subtitles to target more audience 🙂
Here are the video details:
Video Title (Category 15-18): Litterless Initiatives in the Cottonera Area
Students involved: Kylieanna Apap, Katriel Zahra, Annastasia Darmanin, Aceline Grixti, Martina Magro & Maruska Pulis
The other two videos we submitted last May:
- Analyzing the Use of Plastics & the Impact of COVID-19 on the Environment (by: Lauren Galea and Aceline Grixti) and
- Reflecting on How the COVID-19 Managed to Improve the Environment in Malta (by: Elisa Vella, Annastasia Darmanin, Chanise Mifsud) ended up in the COMMENDED list! 🙂
Other COMMENDED articles (category 11-14) carried out by students who all worked in great coordination with me and Ms Juliette Spiteri during the lock down are:
Title: Marine Litter (Students: Lauren Galea, Maya Bartolo, Elisa Vella & Chanise Mifsud).
Title: Land Pollution (Students: Kheloud Abdel Razek, Emily Cilia).
Title: Understanding Air Pollution (Students: Annastasia Darmanin, Aceline Grixti, Martina Magro).
RE categorizing it’s good to know that – COMMENDED entries mean that they were up to standard and had good reporting. Finalists are those that were above standard / better than the rest and had a very good chance of winning.
ALL STUDENTS will be given a certificate – Ms Audrey Gauci will be sending them in the coming days. Prizes are only for the actual winners.
I really would like to thank EVERYONE who contributed especially Ms Marlene Gatt who introduced me to her students; Ms Marlene Galea and Mr Andrew Calleja for uploading material on our school facebook page and school website; and Mr Kenneth Abela for his dedication in taking videos and editing. Many thanks to Mr Martin Azzopardi for his amazing collaboration and support – even though he’s not part of our committee he dedicate a lot of time to assist me in this very interesting fieldwork. Every year, he puts a lot of effort and thanks to him, we are involving many more students to participate in the YRE and Litterless Campaign. Also many thanks to Ms Leanne Lewis for accepting to be interviewed about the plastic Christmas tree last December and to ALL THE MEMBERS in the committee who all did their effort from the very beginning of this scholastic year. I truly appreciate everyone’s effort! Last but definitely not least, I really would like to thank all the SMT members for their great cooperation and support. Here I must mention Mr Daniel Spiteri and Ms Lydia Zammit (Asst Heads) for their impressive support. Honestly I believe that where there is a joint effort and a good teamwork, positive results will come up – no matter the circumstances! 😉
I look forward to work with you ALL again next scholastic year! Meanwhile, I take this opportunity to wish you all a well deserved summer recess.
Cheers and take care,
Head of Department ICT
St Margaret College Senior Secondary School, Verdala
Out of so many participating state/church/independent schools, our School Religion and Science Department students hit once again the top records of the National Young Reporter’s for the Environment Competition as follows:
Honourable mention in the category of YRE Article 15-18
- Young Reporter’s for the Environment students launch a litter less project campaign in making Paper Roll Angel decorations for Advent and Christmas
by Religion Dept. students: Miguel Fenech, Jurgen Xuereb, Jayden Degiorgio
Finalists and Commended YRE 2019 – 2020 Article 15 – 18
- Applied Science CCP students create awareness about the risks of extra sugar in our daily diets – COMMENDED
by Science Dept. students: Decelis Luca, Zammit Kaylon, Knaan Gaze, Bonnici Raiza
- Raising an awareness campaign about breast cancer at school during the Pink October Campaign – COMMENDED
by Science Dept. students: Emerson Bugeja, Daishan Psaila, Jean Vella, Tiernan Fraser
- Verdala Queen’s Young Verdala Leaders Group commemorate Mental Illness Awareness Week – COMMENDED
by Science Dept. student: Shaun Portelli
- Maltese students join Missio Malta in aid of the Myanmar missionary campaign – COMMENDED
by Religion Dept. students: Maya Nussbaum, Sarah Fiorini, Cody Parnis, Jake Chetcuti
- A Pro-Life Catholic Irish couple addresses Maltese students who recite the Rosary of the Unborn – COMMENDED
by Religion Dept. students: Scicluna Raisa, Bonello Owen
- Maltese students commemorate the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation Camp Day – COMMENDED
by Religion Dept. students: Klaydi Borg, Darnoc Mizzi, Grech Carl, Mariema Zahra
- Young Reporter’s for the Environment students launch a litter less project campaign in making Paper Roll Angel decorations for Advent and Christmas – COMMENDED
by Religion Dept. students: Miguel Fenech, Jurgen Xuereb, Jayden Degiorgio
Finalists and Commended YRE 2019 – 2020 Photo 15 – 18
- Do cliffs need doors? – FINALIST
by Religion Dept. student: Maya Nussbaun
- Halloween pumpkins scaring the cliffs – FINALIST
by Religion Dept. student: Maya Nussbaun
- Construction waste an eyesore to our natural environment – COMMENDED
by Religion Dept. student: Jasmin Farrugia
- Baby playpen ends up on Xaqqa Cliffs – COMMENDED
by Religion Dept. student: Maya Nussbaun
- Burnt Fanta lemonade bottles poison the natural habitat
by Religion Dept. student: Maya Nussbaun
- Creaky water pump mills in need of repair
by Religion Dept. student: Jasmin Farrugia
- Humpty Dumpty downfall of a rubble wall
by Religion Dept. student: Jasmin Farrugia
N.B. We were the first school to win the International YRE award with a SOLAR PANEL CAR PROJECT from our School Science Dept. and this year all the 14 Science and Religion YRE project entries are awarded even a project by CCP Science students.
I take the opportunity to THANK especially all my Religion and Science students who collaborated in fulfilling these YRE projects in favour of our local environment. VERY WELL DONE and PRAISE BE TO GOD.
Also congratulations to other awarded participants from our school which I leave for Ms Flavia Grima to announce. VERY WELL DONE.
I thank YRE National Coordinator Ms Audrey Gauci for her kind help and support and the two foreign correctors who sacrificed their free time correcting our Science and Religion Department YRE project entries.
I also thank Ms Josephine Diacono, Fr Karm Spiteri ocd and school clerks Ms Patricia Farrugia and Ms Lorraine Vella for their kind help and support throughout the whole year, much appreciated.
Finally I thank Ms Marlene Galea and Mr Andrew Calleja plus the editors of the Malta Independent on Sunday newspaper, Sunday Times of Malta and Missio Mata for contributing in the dissemination process.
Thanks in regards
Martin Azzopardi sdc
Veteran YRE school coordinator
St. Margaret College
- Article: Understanding Air Pollution – Annastasia Darmanin 9.1, Aceline Grixti 9.1 & Martina Magro 9.2
- Poem: Pollution – Chanise Mifsud – 9.2
- Article: Protecting our Terrestrial Environment – Kheloud Abdel Razek 9.1 & Emily Cilia 9.1
- Article: Marine Litter – Lauren Galea 9.2, Maya Bartolo 9.1, Elisa Vella 9.1 & Chanise Mifsud 9.2
- Article: Is mother nature healing from this pandemic – Emily Cilia 9.1
Thank you to Klaydi Borg, Darnoc Mizzi, Grech Carl and Mariema Zahra (Form 4 students) who cooperated to fulfill this YRE article project.
Auschwitz Liberation Camp Day is commemorated every year on January 27 and this year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Camp in Poland. Around 120 Auschwitz and other Holocaust survivors from all over the world are expected to attend the Memorial at Auschwitz which will be held on Monday, January 27, 2020 thanks to the support of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation from New York City under the Leadership of Ronald S. Lauder. While Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, the event is recognized by the United Nations and the European Union as International Holocaust Remembrance Day
In preparation for this Memorial Day, on Wednesday January 22, 2020, a group of students at St. Margaret College Verdala School, Cospicua joned their teacher, Martin Azzopardi sdc, to commemorate Auschwitz Liberation Camp day while creating awareness amongst students about the atrocities held in the concentration camps of the Nazi Regime.
Then on the 26th January a special morning assembly was held in school to commemorate Auschwitz Liberation Camp day.
Auschwitz Concentration Camp was liberated on the 27th January 1945 by the soldiers of the 60th Army of the First Ukrainian Front. It was a paradox of history that Soviet soldiers (formally representing Stalinist regime) brought freedom to the prisoners of Nazi regime. The Russian Red Army obtained details about Auschwitz after the liberation of the city of Krakow and about seven thousand prisoners awaited liberation in the Main Camp of Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Monowitz. Before and soon after January 27, Soviet soldiers liberated about 500 prisoners in the Auschwitz sub-camps in StaraKuźnia, BlachowniaŚląska, Świętochłowice, Wesoła, Libiąż, Jawiszowice, and Jaworzno.
Over 230 Soviet soldiers, including the commander of the 472nd regiment, Col. SiemenLvovichBesprozvanny, died in combat while liberating the Main Camp of Auschwitz, Birkenau, Monowitz, and the city of Oświęcim.
In the Main Camp of Auschwitz and Birkenau, Soviet soldiers discovered the corpses of about 600 prisoners who had been shot by the withdrawing Nazi SS or who had succumbed to exhaustion.
No one knows exactly how many people were sent to Auschwitz, or how many died there since the Nazis did not maintain registration records for those who were to be exterminated immediately upon arrival at Auschwitz. However, historians estimate that between 1940 and 1945, the Nazis sent at least 1.3 million people to Auschwitz. About 1.1 million of these people died or were killed at Auschwitz. MAY THIS NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.
At the end of this activity, students were informed that In Malta all cases of racism can be reported to Report Racism Malta – www.reportracism-malta.org. Report Racism Malta is a project of the People for Change Foundation, launched in November 2014 to address the under-reporting of discriminatory incidents by creating an easy-to-use mechanism for communicating incidents of racial discrimination. Report Racism Malta provides an avenue for reporting incidents of discrimination and racism against individual victims, and offers guidance in cases where cases may be taken forward and remedies accessed.
This project aims to reach three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Reduced Inequalities; Good Health and Well-being; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Quality Education.
YRE Article 6 – A Pro-Life Catholic Irish couple addresses Maltese students who recite the Rosary of the Unborn
Thank you to Scicluna Raisa and Bonello Owen (Form 5 students) who cooperated to fulfill this YRE article project.
On Wednesday, 8th January 2020 a Pro-Life Irish couple, Carmen and Declan Waters addressed a group of Form 5 students at St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, Cospicua. The Irish couple was invited to school by teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc, to hold a talk in class about the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end. Carmen Waters said that when abortion was introduced in Ireland it was shocking seeing Irish women playing drums and celebrating in favour of abortion. In fact, after a bitter referendum campaign, the amendment of the constitution of Ireland was passed by 67% voting in favour of abortion to 33% voting against. Then on the 25th May 2018, a referendum was passed by a similar margin to remove the constitutional ban on abortion and was signed in to law on 18 September 2018. Nowadays abortion in Ireland is permitted during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, and in cases where the pregnant woman’s life or health is at risk, or in the cases of a fatal foetal abnormality.
Declan Waters added, quoting Pope John PaulII : “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without a future” (June 1997). Throughout his pontificate, Pope John Paul II was always outspoken on life issues and he rarely lost an opportunity to speak out against abortion. In 2004 the Pope canonised Gianna Beretta Molla, who died of cancer in 1962 after refusing life-saving treatment that would have required the termination of her pregnancy.
Carmen emphasized that “every birth is innocent and God has a plan for it”. She encouraged students to leave sex for marriage and build a married life on the sacrament of matrimony. Then Declan said that if we Christians want to live a happy life we must learn to abide by moral standards and live by the Ten Commandments.
Some years ago, Carmen and Declan Waters founded the Rosary of the Unborn at St. Margaret College and since then students attending Religion lessons still pass on the rosary beads from one student to another, reciting one Hail Mary prayer in their hearts to end abortion around the world. The Irish couple were so happy to see that the rosary of the unborn is still practiced at St. Margaret College.
On the 30th September 2019, the Malta Today newspaper revealed that Malta’s emerging pro-choice lobby group held its first-ever rally to mark ‘International Safe Abortion Day’. This very small group of people say that the ‘Voice For Choice’ outlines why Malta’s total abortion ban, in all circumstances, poses a health risk to women and so they propose abortion in Malta.
In The Times of Malta newspaper (dated 2nd February 2020) the President of Malta, Dr George Vella, was reported to have delivered a strong address against abortion, saying that he was representing the absolute majority of people in Malta when he spoke against its introduction. “I cannot imagine how we can terminate this life at any stage in its development,” he said.
Teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc said, “Educating our students in a pro-life spirit is part of our holistic approach in education and this helps to build up a generation of people with more love and respect for every living creature.”
Special thanks go to Declan and Carmen Waters for offering this pro-life talk and experience to form 5 students at St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, Cospicua.
This project aims to reach three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health & Well-being, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and Quality Education.
YRE Article 5 – Young Reporters for the Environment students launch a litter-less project campaign in making paper roll angel decorations for Advent and Christmas
Thank you to Miguel Fenech, Jurgen Xuereb, Jayden Degiorgio (Form 4 students) who cooperated to fulfill this YRE article project.
On Monday, 2nd December 2019, a group of Young Reporters for the Environment students at St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, Cospicua exhibited the paper roll angel decorations hand made by a group of participating Science students. These paper roll angel decorations are used to decorate the school image of the Baby Jesus. Before starting the Advent season, the Science Department of St. Margaret College encouraged many Science students to participate in this litter-less project campaign in making paper roll angel decorations using ONLY recycled material. Students had to provide their own recycled material like toilet rolls, wool, parcel wrap paper, cotton, embroidery threads and ribbons, plus colours or paint. Then for those who opted to make their angel decorations at school, all the necessary tools were provided but the majority of the students preferred to work on their paper roll angel decorations at home.
Science Teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc, who coordinated this Litter-less Campaign school project said: “Our science students were very eager to participate in this project as it was an opportunity for them to be creative and environment-friendly at the same time. It was also a challenge for them as they were limited to make use ONLY of recycled material and for some students who worked in pairs or in groups it was also an opportunity to experience a team spirit in favour of our environment”.
To make these paper roll angel decorations, students had to follow some steps:
- After gathering all their recycled material, they covered the toilet paper roll with pieces of fabric or paper to make the angel dress.
- Then to make the angel’s hands pieces of metal strips or wooden tooth- picks were used. Others made use of hard paper strips to make the hands which were then covered with fabric or paper to create the long sleeves.
- To make the angel’s head, some students used tennis balls but some others preferred to create the head using soft paper or spray bottle cups. Then colours and buttons were used to make the angel’s face.
- In making the angel’s hair, many students made use of recycled cotton or fabric while others used strips of soft paper which were then glued to the head.
Then to create the angel’s wings, students drew the wings on hard paper first and then decorated them using colours, glittered paper or cotton. Many used glue to stick the wings to the body but some others used pins or needles.
To be more environment friendly, some students made their own glue using natural ingredients like water and flour.
This Christmas all the participating students in this litter-less school project campaign can surely feel the satisfaction of making their own paper roll angel decorations adopting the three R’s – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE – which all help to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away. In doing so students learn to conserve natural resources and energy plus save money communities must use to dispose of waste in landfills.
This project aims to reach three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, and Quality Education.
Thank you to Maya Nussbaum, Sarah Fiorini, Cody Parnis, Jake Chetcuti (Form 5 students) who cooperated to fulfill this YRE article project.
Every year St. Margaret College Secondary School, Verdala students join Missio Malta in aid of a missionary campaign. This year Missio Malta is inviting Maltese people to contribute to the missionary campaign in aid of Myanmar. St. Margaret College students, together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc, join Missio Malta not only to raise funds in aid of Myanmar, but also to do research about the situation of poverty in Myanmar and offer solutions to the Myanmar government.
The Asian country of Myanmar (previously called Burma) is estimated to have a population of 52 million people, of whom 26% still live in poverty. Despite the 5% annual economic growth of this country, poverty still reigns, especially in the rural areas. Thus a thorough investigation and understanding of the main causes of poverty in Myanmar is needed.
Myanmar is considered to be the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia with very fertile lands and with a significant amount of potentially productive natural resources. In fact, agriculture is the main economic source of income creating employment for more than half the country’s workforce. Paddy rice is the country’s primary crop which generates profit in Myanmar but compared to Cambodia and Vietnam it still offers the lowest profit in the region.
Many rural areas in Myanmar are highly vulnerable to extreme weather such as heavy downpour and cyclones. In fact in 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit the country leaving long effect devastation, especially in the rural areas. Following the effect of Cyclone Nargis, people were unable to create economic value for themselves and their communities.
Health issues are also among the causes of poverty in Myanmar. Around 37% of the population is still unable to have access to clean water and sanitation. These health issues rank the country with the lowest life expectancy as well as the second-highest rate of infant and child mortality. According to recent figures it is assumed that 40 out of every 1000 babies born die before they reach their first birthday. Much of this is due to inadequate healthcare facilities which can easily be overcome if the government invests more money to improve the existing healthcare facilities and make plans to contribute more to the country’s healthcare.
However, a campaign to increase the disease control in Myanmar has shown a marked reduction in reported HIV/AIDS cases. Also the economic growth of the country and the government’s priority to decrease rural poverty is offering a light of hope towards rural areas in Myanmar.
According to the World Bank, poverty in Myanmar has decreased from 44.5% in 2004 to 26.1% in 2015, mostly in urban areas. The government of Myanmar has made plans to invest more on education. In fact, the government’s investment on education increased from $251.8 million in 2013 to $1.2 billion in 2017.
On contacting the Director of Missio Malta, Mons Valent Borg, students were told that this year’s Missio Malta missionary campaign in aid of Myanmar carried the slogan: ‘Healing a nation through education’ where all fundraising campaigns held in Maltese schools, parishes and Church institutions aim to support schools in Myanmar, particularly St. John’s Catholic School in the Diocese of Hakha, State of Chin in Myanmar, and various college teaching programmes around Myanmar.
While successes are to be recognized, it is important to highlight the fact that without more investment from both government and foreign aid, poverty in Myanmar cannot be eradicated. Thus St. Margaret College students unite with Missio Malta in encouraging other students to contribute in the fundraising campaign in aid of education in Myanmar
This project aims to reach seven of the main goals proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Thank you to Shaun Portelli (Form 5 student) who cooperated to fulfill this YRE article project.
Mental Illness Awareness Week is commemorated from the 6th till the 12th of October and this year, World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day is commemorated on the 10th of October.
On Wednesday October 9, 2019, St. Margaret College Verdala School Queen’s Young Leaders Group assembled with their group founder and teacher, Martin Azzopardi sdc, to raise awareness about mental health among students at school.
St Margaret Queen’s Young Leaders Group was founded in 2014 and each year student members are inspired by the speeches of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II to write and publish articles promoting moral and social values. On World Mental Health Day, St Margaret College students focussed their attention on statistics about mental health in Malta as quoted by The Times of Malta newspaper (dated 10th Oct. 2019)
The Times of Malta says that the Maltese Association of Psychiatry and the Association of Public Health Medicine In Malta report that there are about 20 suicides in men and two in women yearly in Malta. These associations have called for more awareness on mental health and for action plans to reduce suicides by 10 per cent by 2020, in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.
In fact this year the World Mental Health Day is focusing on suicide prevention saying that every suicide can be prevented and this issue needs to be tackled urgently.
Surely there are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce suicides, including early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress; reducing access to the means of suicide; and training further non-specialized health workers.
The Maltese Association of Psychiatry and the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine In Malta insist saying that raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo to access help for ourselves or for others, is vitally important in preventing suicide.
St Margaret Queen’s Young Leaders Group found out that unfortunately many people do not seek help in the early stages of mental illnesses because they don’t recognize the symptoms. (See: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968)
Quoting the www.helpguide.org the 7 major mental health conditions are Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, Eating Disorders, Depression, PTSD, and Addiction/Substance Use Disorder.
Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Screening helps catch problems early. A screening is not a diagnosis, but it can be a helpful tool for starting a conversation with your doctor or psychiatrist about your mental health.
Education and schools must contribute to create a mentally healthy environment for children and young people. St Margaret Queen’s Young Leaders Group is calling on all those involved in education to address seriously the issue of mental health in schools and deliver an effective change.
This project aims to reach two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health and Well-being, and Quality Education.
YRE Article 2 – Raising an awareness campaign about breast cancer at school during the Pink October Campaign
Thank you to Emerson Bugeja, Daishan Psaila, Jean Vella, Tiernan Fraser (Form 4 students) who cooperated to fulfill this YRE article project.
On Monday, 30th September 2019 a school morning assembly was dedicated to the Breast Cancer October Month Campaign at St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, Cospicua. Then on Wednesday, 2nd October 2019 St. Margaret College Verdala School Queen’s Young Leaders Group assembled with their group founder teacher, Martin Azzopardi sdc, to launch an awareness campaign research study about breast cancer as part of the Pink Colour Ribbon Campaign. Inspired by the speeches of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, St. Margaret College Queen’s Young Leaders Group highlights the importance of awareness about breast cancer while stressing prevention.
According to the www.news.cn (dated 2019-07-05), in Malta87 percent of Maltese women treated for breast cancer are diagnosed clear from the disease for a period of five years. This places Malta at a highest percentage among European Union member states. Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne said that in Malta a total of 80,000 mammograms have been performed since the National Breast Screening Services were first launched in 2009. Minister Fearne said also that the expense on new medicine aimed at curing cancer has gone up to 4.5 million euro. He pledged that the Maltese government will continue to invest in technology to treat cancer.
Quoting recent studies issued in 2018 by the Breast Cancer Now (https://breastcancernow.org), breast cancer can develop in the breast cells of both men and women, but it is more common to be found in women. In the UK around 11,500 women and 80 men die every year from breast cancer. This leads breast cancer to be the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
Research found that less than half (48%) of British women surveyed were regularly checking their breasts for signs of breast cancer, while almost one in ten (8%) had never checked at all. The most common reasons women cited for not checking their breasts regularly were because they forget (41%) and 21% said they didn’t check their breasts regularly because they don’t feel confident in checking.
Checking your breasts will only take you a few minutes. When touching your breasts and looking for changes, one has to check the whole breast area, including the upper chest and armpits. Common breast cancer signs and symptoms include:
- A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit. One might feel the lump, but not see it.
- Changes in the size or shape of the breast
- A change in skin texture i.e. puckering or dimpling of the skin
- A change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
- Rash, crusting or changes to the nipple
There are various factors that can affect one’s chances of developing breast cancer. It can result from the way we live our lives, our genes and our surrounding environment.
So the question is: What can we do to reduce the risk of breast cancer?
We can prevent the chance of getting breast cancer by making small healthy changes and living well, by drinking less alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping physically active.
This project aims to reach two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health and Well-being, and Quality Education.
YRE Article 1 – Applied Science CCP students create awareness about the risks of extra sugar in our daily diets
Thank you to Decelis Luca, Zammit Kaylon, Knaan Gaze, Bonnici Raiza (Form 4 CCP students) who cooperated to fulfill this YRE article project.
On Tuesday, 29th October 2019, a group of Applied Science CCP students launched a project to create awareness about the risks of extra sugar in our daily diets. Coordinated by their Science teacher, Martin Azzopardi sdc, students found that extra sugar in our daily diets has many negative health effects.
Nowadays many people rely on processed foods for meals and snacks but these products very often contain much added sugar. Every 4 grams of sugar amount to one teaspoon of sugar and so one must start noticing the amount of sugar in every packet or tin of food that is purchased from the food supermarkets. The main risk of extra sugar in our diet is obesity.
Quoting the https://www.pwc.com Malta has one of the highest rates of adult and childhood obesity worldwide. In fact over a quarter of the Maltese adult population over 15 years is obese. The prevalence of obesity increased from 23% in 2002 to 25% in 2015 – moving farther away from Malta’s 2020 target rate set at 18%. This study also reveals that adult obesity cost Malta €36 million which is a big economic challenge to our society, not only in terms of the additional healthcare spending but also in terms of the opportunity costs to government, individuals and society.
According to healthline.com, scientists say that extra sugar consumption in our daily diets is the major cause of obesity and many chronic diseases. Extra sugar can cause:
- Obesity: too much added sugar in our daily diets increases the risk of weight gain and fats in our bodies.
- Heart Disease: too much added sugar increases the risk for heart disease factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation.
- Acne Problem: High-sugar diets can increase our bodies’ androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation which can increase the chance of developing acne.
- Type 2 Diabetes: A high-sugar diet may lead to obesity and insulin resistance (a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels), both of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
- Cancer: Too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for cancer, mostly oesophageal cancer, pleural cancer and cancer of the small intestine.
- Depression: Too much added sugar and processed foods may increase depression risk in both men and women. Scientific research has shown that people who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than other people who ate less than40 grams per day.
- Accelerate Skin Ageing: Sugary foods can increase the production of AGEs (Advanced glycation end products), which can accelerate skin aging and wrinkle formation. In fact AGEs damage collagen and elastin, which are proteins that help the skin stretch and keep its beauty.
- Fatty Liver: The two main monosaccharides are glucose and fructose. Glucose is taken up by many cells throughout the body but fructose overloads the liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), characterized by excessive fat build-up in the liver.
- Dementia: High-sugar diets can worsen thecognitive decline and increase the risk of dementia.
- Kidney Disease: Consistently high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels of the kidneys and lead to an increased risk of kidney disease.
So keep a food diary and be more aware of the main sources of sugar in your daily diet. Try to prepare your own healthy meals at home and avoid buying foods and drinks that are high in added sugar. Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey and sugar and eat more whole, unprocessed foods.
This project aims to reach two of the main goals proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health and Well-being, Life on Land, Quality Education.
YRE Photo/description entries from the Religion Department of St. Margaret College Sec. School Verdala, Cospicua for the YRE competition 2019/20.
YRE Photo 1 plus description – by student Jasmine Farrugia
Construction waste an eyesore to our natural environment
On the way to Ghar Lapsi a large hill of construction waste is surely an eyesore to our natural environment. On contacting the Malta Environment and Resources Authority we were told that the area being referred to was previously a quarry which has recently been permitted to be infilled with inert construction material. The intention is to remove what has been a scar in the landscape for years. However, the infilling operations have breached the conditions of the permit. Recently the operator was required to rectify the situation on the ground and to contain its operations within the original boundary of the quarry. Further action may be taken if the operator does not follow the orders given. It seems that the eyesore is the result of a construction waste crisis in Malta. Many constructors are lamenting not finding enough proper places to deposit their waste.
YRE Photo 2 plus description – by student Maya Nussbaum
Baby playpen ends up on Xaqqa Cliffs
On the way to one of the most popular swimming spots in the southern part of Malta, you can stop by the side of the road and make your way towards Xaqqa Cliffs just after passing the quarry. Unfortunately lots of rubbish is ending up in this area and recently a big baby play pan was spotted. A local newspaper reported that few days ago volunteers collected 196kg of waste from Xaqqa Cliffs. Xaqqa has stunning rock formations that leave one amazed at their natural beauty and their unusual shapes. Not to mention the beautiful light blue sea below them. On reporting the waste baby play pan to the Dingli Local Council we were told that this area falls under the protection of the Siggiewi Local Council. We were promised a referral to the responsible team for an immediate clean up of the area.
YRE Photo 3 plus description – by student Maya Nussbaum
Do cliffs need doors?
Recently three big wooden doors were spotted on Rdum ta’ Horrieqa close to the Panorama Road of Dingli Cliffs. Dingli Cliffs are an impressive sight for all visitors; they are 253 meters above sea level facing North Africa. These cliffs offer a unique natural environment with evergreen Maltese Rock-Centaury and many other endemic wild plant species growing. Walking along these majestic cliffs brings one in touch with the beauty and wonders of nature throughout the whole year. So apart from the fact that dumping waste on cliffs and countryside is illegal, these three big wooden doors are an eyesore to the countryside. On contacting the Dingli Local Council we were told that though they offer free service pick up of waste, irresponsible people still prefer to dump their waste in this area. The Local Council promised an immediate clean up action and regular monitoring of the area.
YRE Photo 4 plus description – by student Maya Nussbaum
Burnt Fanta lemonade bottles poison the natural habitat
Trekking on Panorama Road along Dingli Cliffs can easily lead you to a hidden beautiful green area close to Rdum ta’ Horrieqa. Unfortunately illegal dumping of waste in this area has become a huge environmental issue for the Local Council. Recently a big amount of Fanta lemonade plastic bottles were dumped and burned in this area poisoning the living flora and fauna. Plastic is a petroleum-based material and when burned it poisons the air and vegetation with many toxins. Burning plastic and other waste releases dangerous substances such as heavy metals, Persistent Organic Pollutants and other toxics into the air, leaving ash waste residues. Such pollutants can contribute to the development of asthma, cancer and other diseases. On reporting this poisonous dump waste to the Malta Environment and Resources Authority, the responsible Local Council was informed and an immediate clean up action of the area followed.
YRE Photo 5 plus description – by student Maya Nussbaum
Halloween pumpkins scaring the cliffs.
Following the November Halloween festivities many pumpkins used to decorate homes end up being thrown away. Recently a large amount of Halloween pumpkins were spotted in a beautiful area of Dingli Cliffs close to Rdum ta’ Horrieqa. It is really shocking seeing so many rotten Halloween pumpkins scattered on Dingli. Quoting atlantic.com it is estimated that in United States every year more than one billion pounds of pumpkin is thrown away and left to rot in landfills. In the United Kingdom it is estimated that last November people had thrown away eight million pumpkins. When food waste like pumpkins is left to rot, it produces methane gas which is a dangerous greenhouse gas, more so than carbon dioxide. Surely there are other ways for the disposing of rotten pumpkins? They can be used as food for animals or turned into compost soil for fields and gardens.
YRE Photo 6 plus description – by student Jasmine Farrugia
Creaky water pump mills in need of repair
Along the main road from Rabat to Buskett many walkers and drivers easily notice the creaky water pump mills in private fields. Surely two particular creaky water pump mills are spotted in Buskett and they are in urgent need of repair. These are not the only two in the area of Buskett and Dingli which need repair. Windmills are environment friendly as they make use of the power of wind (which is a renewable source of energy) to generate electricity or pump water in fields and farms. The windmill’s turbine blades are able to capture wind energy and turn it into mechanical energy by spinning a generator that creates electricity. A water pump mill is very simple and efficient at the same time. Wind water pump mills form part of the Maltese heritage and more EU funds are needed to restore the damaged ones in our country.
YRE Photo 7 plus description – by student Jasmine Farrugia
Humpty Dumpty downfall of a rubble wall
A very old rubble wall close to the Gibjun tas-Sentini in Rabat has partly fallen down on a very busy road. Rubble walls are part of the Maltese heritage and they are part and parcel of the Maltese conservation areas. Maltese rubble walls (in Maltese: ħajt tas-sejjieħ) very often serve as a habitat for many species of flora and fauna and sometimes serve also as a shelter for bees, butterflies and lizards. Rubble walls have also a very important role in the hydrological cycle of the fields and when it rains heavily, excessive rainwater infiltrates through the holes of the these walls avoiding the risk of field flooding. Old rubble walls are normally built with stones called ‘ġebel tax-xagħri’ and are usually made of the hard-wearing upper coralline limestone. An immediate restoration of this fallen wall in Rabat was carried out as it was a hazard to the passing drivers.
These photos were taken during an interview we did with Ms Alison Zerafa Civelli (Cospicua Mayor), Mr John Boxall (Vittoriosa Mayor) and Mr Clive Pulis (Senglea Mayor) as part of the Litterless Campaign. The scope of meeting all 3 mayors was to investigate what is being done in the Cottonera area to promote a better future environment.
#litterless #youngreporters #yremalta
More photos were taken by our Verdala students to report the need and the scope of the Litter Less Campaign.
This event was done in collaboration with the Litter Less Campaign and the YRE (Young Reporters for the Environment). There were 32 students who participated and there were various subject teachers involved such as Geography, Art, Home Economics, European Studies and Biology. However, what made this event very special was the fact that although students were mixed from Year 9 and Year 10, and they were coming from different subjects, they all found this event very useful and matching with their curriculum.
These two articles are submitted for this year’s Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) competition
Article Echoes from the Past by student Shelseya Tanti.
Recycling computers by Aaliyah and Lara SMC Verdala by students Aaliyah Bonello and Lara Agius
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