The Maltese NPPO, Plant Protection Directorate (PPD), has been hands-on with its constant endeavors and initiatives to raise awareness in keeping away the devastating Xylella fastidiosa pest away from its shores.
Through the introduction of its ‘Xylellu’, a purplish menacing character specifically created as the mascot of a campaign co-funded by the European Union under the financial instrument of Regulation (EU) 652/2014, the NPPO has been conveying its message to the general public to refrain from bringing back home after travelling any plants which could easily be infected without any visible symptoms.
In order to reach the widest audience possible, over the past two years the NPPO has been using various advertising mediums to carry this message across. Two relative short video clips in both Maltese and English language have been produced and promoted on local TV stations and programmes, local cinema screens, Facebook, and on board the ferry MV Jean De La Vallette, which transports passengers between Malta and Sicily. https://www.facebook.com/NisgetArtna/videos/vb.1513486478951766/1624831891150557/?type=2&theater
As the target of this educational and informative campaign are travelers, the Maltese NPPO has been advertising relevant artwork at both the Malta International Airport’s Check-in and Departures Hall through illuminated charging stations and monitors. It is estimated that in the first eight months of this year, the campaign has reached a total of over 4 million passengers, who passed through the Malta International Airport with an unprecedented total of 693,537 passengers passing through the airport during the month of August. Figures and feedback received showed that the awareness campaign is very effective. ‘Xylellu’ has even made it all the way to Australia.
Informative leaflets have also been printed and disseminated together with colourful bookmarks and stickers, which have been circulated in all local primary schools, book shops and fairs to further educate and strengthen the impact of this campaign.
As part of the on-going activities to increase public awareness and knowledge on this deadly bacterium, ‘Xylellu’ is now also wandering around the streets of Malta and Gozo through advertising on local buses.
With its blobby ‘Xylellu’ character and the slogan “Let us safeguard our plants: Keeping plant diseases away from our islands”, the Maltese NPPO will pursue its efforts to safeguard Malta’s precious flora and local agricultural sector from this lethal pest.Share on Twitter Share on Facebook