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Sand replenishment turns St George’s Bay murky, but it’s safe, minister says

Bartolo said the water, at the St Julian’s bay changed colour after the Malta Tourism Authority expanded the beach last week by adding more sand.

Posted on June 26, 2024

Beachgoers found the sea at St George’s Bay a murky yellow on Tuesday, but tourism minister Clayton Bartolo said the bay was still safe for swimming and it was only murky because of sand replenishment.

“A small percentage of that sand turns to dust, which washes into the sea,” he said.  “I want to emphasize that this is not contamination, and the water is still safe for swimming.”

St George’s Bay was extended with imported sand in 2004 and the sand has been replenished every few years since by the Malta Tourism Authority.

“The sand is made from broken granite with similar characteristics to what was placed in the same beach in 2004, 2007, and 2015,” Bartolo said. The murky colour may remain for a few days until the sand settles.

“This phenomenon happens at every (sandy) beach, but natural sand has a lighter colour, so it is not as visible in the water,” Bartolo said.

PN demands an explanation about contaminated bays

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Party demanded an explanation on Tuesday over seawater contamination in various bays which, in some cases had stretched into weeks.

It pointed out that Balluta and St George’s Bay were closed for weeks, and no explanation had been given about the cause.

The government, the PN said, needed to explain and rectify such problems without delay.

The statement was signed by shadow tourism minister  Mario de Marco and shadow environment minister Rebekah Borg.


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