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Contaminated sea around Gozo’s coastline – Readers letter

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Contamintated seas around Gozo's coastline - Readers letterI am a resident of Gozo and a keen scuba diver and enjoy diving all around the island, one of my favourite dive sites was Raz il Hobz situated just bellow the water treatment plant in Ghajnsielem. Ever since the treatment plant was finished their has been a leak from the pipe that goes into the sea, this is clearly visible by the amount of green stinking water on the shore.Contamintated seas around Gozo's coastline - Readers letterIt gets worse, I went for a dive their earlier this week and on the surface the sea is crystal clear and very inviting, however, once I got down to around 20 metres and towards the headland, the visibility drops to about 10 mteres. All the corals and reef plant life is covered in silt and is clearly being smothered to death. As we swam towards the direction of the outfall pipe there is a plume of waste erupting a break in the pipe, how can the authorities let this happen, what’s all this eco-Gozo and protecting the environment I keep reading in the press? Clearly it’s a case of out of sight out of mind!

On a similar subject, whist diving at Dwerja’s Azure Window last week we observed fishing nets strung out from the shore to beyond crocodile rock, I though this was illegal, who is responsible for policing these matters?

Michael Hollis


Photographs taken on the 3rd of April during the dive, in one you can clearly see the silt rising from the bottom as we swam over it. The second picture is of a pinner shell, the corals surrounding it should be all bright colours reds, yellows greens etc, as you can see everything is covered in grey silt from the break in the pipe line – Michael Hollis.

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    9 Responses

    1. Lesley Kreupl says:

      Welcome to ECO-Gozo!

      This morning, Xlendi Bay was full of sludge being pumped out directly into the sea from the road works. One shudders to think was else the sludge contains apart from road run-off chemicals and sewage!

      Surely there is a company on this island, or on Malta, that is capable of installing sewage pipes that don’t leak?

    2. mickh911 says:

      eco gozo ! i was in my car waiting at the xewkija traffic lights, their is a wreck of a car in front of me bellshing out black smoke from it exhaust, on my left their is a huge ” eco gozo ” sign and on my right are two wardens more concerned on looking to see drivers had their seatbelts on, the offending car set off from the lights leaving a plume of black stinking smoke and the wardens didnt raise an eyebrow,
      it was so ironic that this particular vehicle was right their at the side of this sign with wardens as well and nothing was done…

    3. Tony Stivala says:

      Perhaps instead of reportingby means of SMS, the cars that emmit such black smoke, we ought to to report the wardens

      Seriously though, is it any wonder that nobody cares to report anything when the very same people that are there being paid to do these things do not even lift an eyelid

    4. MH says:

      How many vehicles have been taken off the road for repairs to polluting exhausts, not only emissions but noise pollution by these people with loud exhausts, cars with either malfunctioning lights or no lights at all?

      Are people taught what indicators are for, drivers who have total disregard or respect for other road users, parking their vehicles in the most dangerous and stupid places, unbelievable the amount of drivers who think they have the only vehicle on the road.

      Roads! that’s another story, probably explains why a lot of vehicles are in an nun-roadworthy condition in the first place.

    5. Michel de Brabander says:

      Awful to see such a beautiful dive spot still being ruined! Your underwater world is one of the best in the Mediterranean . Don’t lose another main tourism attracting feature of Gozo! Above water you can’t miss the Eco Gozo EU billboards, indicating what major steps ahead are made these days, I would say finish the job taken on, before it’s too late. Whoever is responsible, such an organisation must be able to fix this in a year. Please keep us updated on the progress being made.

    6. Bettina Thiel says:

      Gozo can`t allow to ignore the leak from the pipe and others problems by the environment. Gozo is more and more a destination for öco-tourists (it means people to save the invironment with eco using by water and try to make not so much waste…). These people have understand what for a wonderfull country Gozo is. Full of nature under the water and on the land. And this kind of tourists are not looking for fun places like Malta they are looking for silence and the fantastic nature. They bring money to Gozo and this is important for the economic. But what will happen when the nature will destroy? I hope the government will understand and will help to save this wonderfull iland.

    7. A Coode says:

      I visit Gozo about three time a year. This visit has been the most depressing for years. There are major civil engineering works every where. What is happening to the bus station. I saw trees being torn up yesterday, the Park next to the Dukes looks like a bomb site, and Xlendi is a complete and utter mess. Even whilst sitting on the front at Xlendi on Tuesday a mechanical digger started to hammer away at the space outside St Patricks to dig holes for an awning. Gozo is changing and I fear not for the better. The tranquil island I recommend to friends will be gone before the year is out. In my humble opinion most of the “improvements” are not necessary and certainly don’t add to the attraction of the island as a tourist destination.

    8. Mick Hollis says:

      I had a meeting at the Gozo Ministry re the sewage plant at Raz il-Hobz, of course they said any pollution of the sea there should not be happening, but we all know it is.

      The outcome of our meeting was that my dive buddy and I would go dive their (which we did yesterday) and take samples of the sludge on the shore, a sample of the sediment on the reef and a sample of the water coming out of the vent in the pipeline, we also took video footage of the vent in the pipe to show them.

      Needless to say, someone took action after my letter was published, because when we dived it yesterday the visibility was brilliant and no signs of any sediment floating in the current, so a temporary result at least.

      Several of my dive buddy’s and I will be diving Raz il-Hobz as often as we can to monitor the conditions there, maybe those responsible think they can get away with letting untreated waste down the pipe occasionally, rest assured, we will not let this matter rest until it is resolved permanently.

      If they do their job nothing would make me happier than to praise them for clearing it up, if they don’t, I will continue reporting the matter and to a much wider audience.

    9. MICKH911 says:


      Analysing the samples is futile given that at this point in time we are still pursuing the cleaning operation. A submarine survey of the outfall will be conducted once this operation is over to (a) assess the outfall condition (b) assess the turbidity of the receiving waters.

      Furthermore, I will also have a closer look at the inlet pumping station further down from the plant towards the shore which has on a number of occasions reportedly been overwhelmed by material that goes through the silting chamber constructed to protect the pumping station, that may have resulted in overflows before the raw sewage actually makes it to the plant.


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