Overgrown weeds, rusting bins and bags full of garbage mar Malta's largest burial ground – the Addolorata cemetery in Paola.
People attending funerals or visiting the graves of their dearly departed alerted Times of Malta to the situation, saying the state of the place was disrespectful to both those resting there and their families.
Overgrown weeds and tree branches that have toppled over take up most of the passageways, making walking a difficult task, and so visitors are forced to step from side to side to reach graves. Accessing the passageways in a wheelchair or with a push-chair is nearly impossible, with grass being waist-high in some areas.
Used plastic bottles and candles litter most areas, including the tombstones
Signs meant to urge visitors to keep the place clean also look the worse for wear, most of them hardly legible and others having become rusty or filthy.
Used plastic bottles and candles litter most areas, including the tombstones, and bins are found all over the burial grounds. The latter are either broken or full to the brim.
At the back entrance, accessible from the Santa Luċija side, skips are full of used wood and other materials, including what to many appear to be parts of used coffins.
Health Minister Chris Fearne announced last July that the government would “soon” be entering into a €16 million private-public partnership for the extension, maintenance and restoration of the cemetery.
He said the project would see an additional 2,800 graves added to the “crowded” cemetery. The contract would be tied to a €6 million restoration obligation to be undertaken by the chosen concessionaire, Mr Fearne said.