Before... and after
Nearly seven tons of rubbish were removed from prime beauty spot Wied iż-Żurrieq in recent days – and the Cleansing Directorate will bill Qrendi council for the job.
Following an article that appeared in The Times last Saturday about rubbish dumped in the valley, the directorate cleaned up the mess earlier this week.
However, confusion remained over which entity should be responsible for regularly cleaning the area. Director Carmel Zammit had personally led a team to Wied iż-Żurrieq after being contacted by The Times last Friday, but when he arrived he deemed the littered area to be the responsibility of the local council.
After it was reported last Saturday that Qrendi’s mayor was unaware of the rubbish problem, and the council failed to respond for two days, Mr Zammit said he decided to act.
His team removed 6.9 tons of rubbish last Monday and Tuesday from the rocky valley near boathouses, homes and workshops.
Some of the decaying household and workshop waste was close to the staircase that leads to the bathing area.
Wied iż-Żurrieq is popular with tourists taking boat trips to the Blue Grotto, as well as Maltese who use the area for swimming.
The Cleansing Directorate is obliged to clean public beaches and is paid about €900 per month by the Qrendi council to sweep and empty bins daily along the road leading to Wied iż-Żurrieq and the car park, as well as the roads where shops are located, Mr Zammit confirmed.
“I reiterate that the illegalities occurred outside the responsibility zones of the Cleansing Directorate,” Mr Zammit said, adding the Qrendi council would be billed for the job.
However, Qrendi mayor Carmel Falzon saw things differently when contacted, saying the council was pleased the directorate had collected rubbish from the area “at last”.
He said the boathouses near to where the rubbish was dumped were located in “totally private areas... particularly in two side streets which legally speaking are not even open to the public”.
The Times, however, could not find any signs or fences restricting access to the littered area.
Mr Falzon complained that despite the touristic importance of the area, which also includes Ħaġar Qim and Imnajdra Temples, Qrendi council is not allocated any extra funds by the Department of Local Government to maintain it.