Credit/Source: The Malta Independent on Sunday, Sunday, 5 March 2017 by Laiq Ahmed Atif
“I’m actually in love with Gozo and find it incredibly intriguing; the culture, the way of life, the intense natural beauty everywhere, all of it. I went to the Azure Window, the Citadel and the Ġgantija Temples – I’m so fascinated by it all,” a friend of mine from England who recently visited Gozo told me. This is what I often hear from whoever visits Gozo and particularly the iconic and gorgeous Azure Window in Dwejra.
Such inspiring compliments make us proud of having a beautiful country with wonderful natural attractions. On the other hand, we must also be responsible and take care of them. The full protection and care of this national heritage is extremely important, for our benefit and for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.
The Azure Window, whose stunning geography of the area was created thousands of years ago when two limestone caves collapsed. It is one of the Maltese Islands’ most distinctive sites, attracting thousands of tourists every year, from all walks of life and from all over the world. It does not attract a person once but many a times; and this attraction is irresistible. I myself have visited Azure Window dozens of times, with family and friends.
In recent months, the Azure Window has been in the news because of the negligence in protecting this masterpiece gifted by the Almighty God. A video posted in November last year showed parts of the Azure Window falling off. On this one particular event, a man is seen jumping off the edge of the natural arch, followed by large rocks which came loose after he had walked over them.
The rough seas have seriously affected the Azure Window and in recent weeks it exposed its fragility further when the pounding waves broke off a large slab from the base of one of its cliffs.
The authorities have put signs warning visitors off, but it looks that a few signs are simply not enough. The media has reported people walking on the iconic arch, which is crumbling into the sea, even after the new sings were placed. At one particular event, it was reported that around 27 people were walking on it.
Recently, I saw some old photos of the Azure Window taken in 1980, which show that it was much bigger in size than it is today. With the passage of time, it is has become smaller and smaller.
Due to natural erosion and human negligence, this iconic sight may fall or divide into pieces if concrete measures are not taken, depriving future generations from enjoying its magnificent beauty. If that happens, it will be an irreparable loss.
The situation is alarming and I think this site needs urgent attention and preservation.
The Azure Window is a gorgeous spot and one of nature’s beautiful masterpieces and, at the same time, it brings economical benefits to Gozo and Malta, as thousands of tourists visit this site every year. Without the Azure Window, the attractions of Dwejra will be limited.
I think a permanent structure under the arch to protect it and save it from further damage and loss of size should be considered. Secondly, one needs to make sure that no one walks on it; measures taken already must be enforced fully, without slacking. There must be emergency numbers so when anyone notices any contraventions the authorities will be alerted immediately. The site should be supervised at all times.
An encouraging initiative has been taken as the government has allocated a fund of €200,000 and appointed a committee of experts to carry out studies and researches on Dwejra to be considered a world heritage by UNESCO.
I think the Azure Window is a marvellous masterpiece of natural beauty which makes Gozo very attractive. Any loss to this lovely site will be a loss to Gozo and Malta, and no doubt a loss for future generations. It would be wise to protect and preserve the Azure Window before it is too late. Find original post in TMIS:
Mr Atif is the President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta. firstname.lastname@example.org