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Tourism Authority to step up Dwejra monitoring

Do not proceed beyond what point?

Do not proceed beyond what point?

The Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) has vowed to step up monitoring of the Azure Window at Dwejra following the latest incident at the site last week.

A video uploaded to Youtube showed a number of large rocks crashing off the iconic structure after a man ignored multiple warning signs and jumped into the sea below.

Both the Gozo Tourism Association and the San Lawrenz council said they lacked the resources needed to monitor the area adequately.

A major rockfall occurred at the site in 2012. A 2013 geological rock assessment showed that the structure was not facing imminent collapse but further erosion was inevitable.

The structure consists of two main rock layers: Upper Coralline limestone, a hard, durable stone, and blue clay limestone, a softer, malleable stone susceptible to erosion. As much as 90 per cent of the outer layer is estimated to have eroded over the past 30 years.

“It is safe to say that the Azure Window is not facing any imminent collapse as was previously believed. This still doesn’t mean it will last forever – this is a process,” geologist Peter Gatt said.

Dr Gatt has called for people to steer well clear of the structure. It has been advised that mariners and swimmers should avoiding passing directly underneath it.

While some advocate intervention to prevent further damage to the Azure Window, others say natural erosion should be allowed to take its course.

The biggest safety concern in the area is the number of people who ignore the multiple warning signs advising against walking on top of the window.

Contacted by the Times of Malta, a spokesman for the MTA said it had drawn up an immediate plan, together with the Gozo Ministry and Environment Resources Authority, to monitor the site until a full Dwejra plan came into force.

The spokesman said the MTA, along with a number of other entities, had embarked on an educational campaign highlighting the reasons why the window and the entire Dwejra area needed to be respected and safeguarded.

The MTA was also collaborating with the Gozo Ministry and Din l-Art Ħelwa on the installation of one or more webcams on Dwejra Tower, the spokesman said.

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