Comino's Blue Lagoon will have 65 per cent fewer sunbeds and umbrellas this summer, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo told parliament on Monday.

Replying to a parliamentary question by Labour MP Cressida Galea, Bartolo said that only 35 per cent of the sunbeds and umbrellas that were set up in previous years would be allowed this summer.

"We did not simply shrink the encroachment areas; we also moved them so that the Blue Lagoon is cleared and is open and available to the public," he said.  

"We want to give this space back to the public. We could not continue to have a situation where the quay was occupied by sunbeds and people were not able to access the bay, not to mention the issue of cleanliness."

Bartolo said the government would also introduce a new shift of beach cleaners on Comino and add another garbage collection trip every day. Therefore boats will carry garbage off Comino three times daily - in the morning, afternoon and evening.

There are at least 15 people employed full-time by the government to clean Comino.

Managing people and waste on Comino is very challenging because so many people visit the island daily and it is not easily accessible, Bartolo said, but the government would also deploy officials from several entities to supervise the island and ensure that the necessary services were being provided.

What about the master plan?

Government has been promising a 'holistic' master plan for Comino for years, and on Monday, PN MP Mario de Marco asked Minister Bartolo when it would be ready.

Bartolo replied that the changes he had just announced would serve to inform the government on the best way to move forward on the plan, which would be finished "in the coming months". 

"We want to make sure this is not just a holistic plan for the Blue Lagoon, but for all Comino, and we want to ensure that this summer's changes are in the right direction," he said.

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