Six months on and the damage to Dwejra is still visible
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It is now almost 6 months since I broke the original story in a letter to Gozonews regarding the damage caused at Dwejra by the dumping of quarry waste on the fossil beds. At the time there was a flurry of activity by various Government and opposition personnel all calling for legislation to be put in place to ensure the same thing could never happen again. Mechanical equipment in the form of bulldozers and jack hammers were being used at the time to remove the waste as it had become rock hard due to weathering. The use of such equipment was immediately banned and workers were brought in to remove the waste by hand.
These poor chaps had a back breaking task trying to remove the hardened material but in the circumstances they did the best they could. The story now seems to have died and been buried under more pressing stories regarding divorce, Parliament buildings on stilts, City Gates without a gate and theatres without roofs, not to mention sub-sea tunnels.So is Dwejra now back to normal? Is that why it is not in the news anymore, or could it be that certain authorities are just hoping we will all forget about it? Given the fact that no-one was brought to book over the matter I suspected the latter and decided to follow up on the story. As I am not in Gozo at the moment I asked a friend to pay a visit to the area on my behalf and take a few photos. I think as in the case with the original story the photos speak for themselves.
The damage to the fossil beds is clearly visible and you can see where areas have been broken away by the bulldozers. The rock pools still contain the polluting waste which does not bode well for the many marine creatures which used to inhabit them and call them home.But, I hear you say at least the 18 inch layer of quarry waste and plastic has for the most part been removed. Well yes, that is true, but as the photographs show it didn’t go far. One would have expected the waste to have been returned to the quarry from which it was sourced. That after all would be the logical and ethical thing to do, but unfortunately this didn’t happen. As can be seen in the photographs the waste was simply dumped at several nearby locations namely the back road from the Kempinski hotel to Santa Lucija, just before the Ghajn Abdul spring and below the caves and on the other side of the valley above the quarries behind the Inland sea.Given that the work of removing the waste was being supervised by MEPA officials the question that has to be asked here is did they authorise the waste to be dumped here? Did they perhaps think it would make a nice tourist attraction for the local hotel guests or perhaps somewhere for local ramblers to sit down and rest?
Years ago now the people were promised MEPA reform. What they have received instead are three very expensive cars and more of the same. I say three in order to include the new MEPA director for environmental protection. In what way is this protecting the local environment? The dumping of waste in this Natura 2000 area originally was disgusting and where the waste has now been dumped is no less disgusting. When are these authorities ever going to learn?
James A. Tyrrell,