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In spite of 57 beach cleaners... tons of seaweed sit at two Gozo beaches

ERA still has to give green light for removal

Tons of seaweed still litter San Blas in Gozo.

Tons of seaweed still litter San Blas in Gozo.

There are 57 full-time beach cleaners employed by the government in Gozo but tons of seaweed still sit at San Blas as the island braces for the annual Santa Maria ‘invasion’.

The Gozo Ministry told the Times of Malta that though beach cleaning was taking place daily, it was true that seaweed had not been cleared from Daħlet Qorrot and San Blas.

It attributed this to bureaucracy, saying the ministry was still awaiting the green light from the Environment and Resources Authority to clean the two beaches.

Normally, seaweed deposited in Gozitan beaches is cleared at the start of the bathing season, in May. Daħlet Qorrot was cleaned by a private contractor after Times of Malta reported the matter but, it seems, that San Blas must wait longer.

Read: Seaweed mars two idyllic Gozo beaches

The Gozo Ministry was asked whether there was a shortage of beach cleaners and how many people were employed to clean the sites and handle their upkeep but no replies were forthcoming.

However, sources close to the ministry said six full-time beach cleaners alone were assigned to Daħlet Qorrot and four allocated to San Blas. They were all paid for eight hours a day.If the cleaners at this bay had removed just a bag of seaweed a day, the beach here would be spick and span

“If the cleaners at this bay had removed just a bag of seaweed a day, the beach here would be spick and span. However, we are in Gozo and I can tell you I never saw six beach cleaners here but not early in the morning when they are supposed to clock in,” a regular bather at Daħlet Qorrot said.

The situation at San Blas seems to be the same.

“I think beach cleaners here must come at night because I’ve never seen anyone here,” a frequent visitor to the red sandy beach told the Times of Malta.

He said it did not make much difference to him whether there was seaweed or not because the place was still fascinating.

“This particular place is visited by so many foreigners on holiday and it’s a pity they can’t enjoy the full natural spectacle of this small beach,” he pointed out.

Despite having been assigned beach-cleaning duties, most of the Gozo Ministry workers deployed at various points around the island fall in various grades.

These vary from community workers to nomenclatures that have nothing to do with beaches such as senior clerks, Customs assistants, gardeners and even health attendants, sources said.

The site having the highest number of full-time beach cleaners is Marsalforn where 12 government employees are posted.

Ix-Xatt l-Aħmar has the least, just two beach cleaners, according to the sources.

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