NGO warns of further protests if Blue Lagoon continues to be ‘hijacked by commercial interests’
Moviment Graffitti has sent its second letter to five ministers – those for tourism, Gozo, environment, land and planning – regarding the situation in Comino, in particular the Blue Lagoon. In the letter, we note that we have not received a response to the first letter which was sent on June 6, and we express our regret that since then the situation has remained totally unacceptable.
In the absence of action from the authorities, Moviment Graffitti has warned that it is ready to intervene directly again so that Comino benefits everyone and its natural environment is protected.
Moviment Graffitti has always pointed out that the reason for the disastrous situation at Blue Lagoon is the intensive commercial interests that have invaded the beach, not only deckchairs and parasols, but also large boats (such as catamarans) which flock in their hundreds of tourists and the exaggerated number of large kiosks which create unsustainable waste and noise.
In the letter, the NGO specifies that not only has this concern not been recognized, but also with regard to deckchairs and parasols, the situation has not improved much. “When we visited Comino a few days ago, we found that only the few deckchairs on the small sandy part of the beach had been removed, while the rest of the area – on the quay, the walkway and the other small beach – was still covered with empty deckchairs and umbrellas since the early morning,” the NGO said.
The letter also refers to the lies told to justify the authorities’ inaction. Minister Clayton Bartolo said he did not wish to comment on how the situation in Comino should be handled as a committee is working on a plan. However, the same minister, twice in a row, did not answer parliamentary questions on the composition and work of this committee. In fact, everything indicates that this committee – which was set up in 2017 to evaluate, among other things, the 2016 Comino management plan – does not currently exist.
The orientations given by the management plan remained in abeyance for six whole years in order not to ignore the commercial interests which hijacked this nature reserve.
The letter emphasizes that action must be taken immediately to stop the damage and return the beach to the people. These measures are:
oh Deckchairs and parasols are only put in place at the request of a person physically present on site, and AT NO TIME should they occupy more than 30% of the total surface area of the Blue Lagoon.
oh Big boats, which take hundreds of tourists in one trip, should be banned from Comino.
oh There should be a limit of two small kiosks, without music, in the Blue Lagoon.
oh There should be a limit on the type and amount of waste generated, and this should be collected daily in the evening, so that rats that cause great damage to the natural environment do not continue to multiply.