The Environment and Resources Authority is preparing a conservation order for Dwejra which will protect the natural fauna and flora, and at the same time offer an opportunity for divers who go diving to admire the remains underwater.
On the Maltese islands there are around 25 natural arches which have formed over the years in a geological and geomorphological process. The former is the study of rocks while the latter is the process by means of which the landscape is formed. This is a natural process which goes hand in hand with erosion – where the rocks are weathered by the sea and waves, running water and winds.
Daniel Sultana, a geologist with the ERA, said that the Azure Window which collapsed during a storm on 8 March, offered an interesting geological study.
Mr Sultana said, “Dwejra was spectacular because it was large and interesting from a geological and geomorphological perspective, however there are a number of other natural arches in Malta and Gozo, such as the one in Blue Grotto – which is very similar in certain aspects.”
There are similar window formations in the same area as the Blue Grotto, set against the backdrop of Filfla, which also offer a natural spectacle. From the Wied il-Mielaħ in Għarb, Gozo, which has almost become a fitting substitute for the Azure Window, all the way to the other end of Malta, these formations are everywhere, with some of them very close to the water’s edge while others can be admired after a long trek on the rocky shore.
The remains of the Azure Window are now buried in the silence at the bottom of the sea and are still enjoying another type of popularity, because they are attracting the attention of many divers who have found an underwater treasure.
“Right now, ERA is drafting an Emergency Conservation Order with the aim of creating a zone for biodiversity where the flora and fauna species will be protected and guarded. Even though this site is going to be used more by divers, this order will also address the safety and protection of the flora and fauna, as well as the protection of the public in general.”
After the collapse of the Azure Window, ERA, Transport Malta, as well as the Malta Tourism Authority had advised the public that boat owners, divers and swimmers should avoid the area until inspections and the necessary investigation are carried out to ensure that there are no further risks.