A peninsula on the limits of Naxxar has been closed off to vehicles to allow garigue there to regenerate and giving activists time to gradually clean it up after years of neglect.

Qalet Marku is a sea-facing peninsula at Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq which has been heavily eroded by cars driving over its natural surface. Open fires and littering have extensively damaged the peninsula’s natural flora and fauna.

It hosts St Mark's Tower, a small watchtower built in 1658. 

The decision to close access to the peninsula was taken by Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia, on the suggestion of environmental activists Camilla Appelgren and clean-up NGO Get Trashed Malta.

“He promised us that he would close it off and that we would be taking the lead in making this peninsula into what it should be - a green area where people can walk and enjoy the Maltese countryside,” Appelgren wrote.

On Tuesday, she congratulated the minister for having “walked the talk” and followed through on his promise.

A gate has been installed at the site, to prevent vehicles from entering, and anti-littering activists say they will now spend a year hand cleaning the area, to rid of litter.

They hope that the extensive clean-up will also help marine life in the area, as much of the litter being dumped there was ending up in the sea.

Appelgren’s organisation, Malta Clean Up, will focus exclusively on the Qalet Marku project throughout the year. The clean-up project will launch once coronavirus pandemic restrictions are lifted.

The intention, Appelgren wrote, is to regenerate the area for families to enjoy.

Anyone who visits the area should be wary of large quantities of broken glass as well as covered holes.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us