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This European Beach Paradise is Fining Tourists for Stealing Sand

cala Goloritze©Christophe Delaere:Flickr
cala Goloritze©Christophe Delaere:Flickr
The island of Sardinia, which sits off the Italian mainland and is surrounded by the Mediterranean sea, is home to some of Italy’s most beautiful beaches. These long stretches of sand – whether the sugar white sand of La Caletta, or the rice-shaped quartz sand from Is Arutas – make Sardinian beaches particularly special, and Sardinian sand is proving to be a popular souvenir for visitors to stash in their suitcase. The Sardinians, however, have said enough to this petty pillaging.

At airports across the island, bags are being searched for stolen sand and offenders face fines up to €1,000 ($1,190), in line with a law which came into effect this August. So what’s the harm in taking a handful of sand from a beach that is miles and miles long? In 2016, airport authorities and the Regional Forestry Corps confiscated almost five tons of sand, pebbles and shells at Elmas airport in Cagliari alone. Authorities had to make the island of Budelli, famous for its pink sand beach, off limits in an attempt to save it from destruction, in part caused by people swiping the irresistible sand.

At airports across the island, bags are being searched for stolen sand and offenders face fines up to €1,000 ($1,190), in line with a law which came into effect this August. So what’s the harm in taking a handful of sand from a beach that is miles and miles long? In 2016, airport authorities and the Regional Forestry Corps confiscated almost five tons of sand, pebbles and shells at Elmas airport in Cagliari alone. Authorities had to make the island of Budelli, famous for its pink sand beach, off limits in an attempt to save it from destruction, in part caused by people swiping the irresistible sand.

Islanders who are fed up have a Facebook page, Sardegna Rubata e Depredata, which roughly translates to Sardinia stolen and pillaged. The page documents tourists collecting sand, and the efforts to protect the island’s delicate ecosystem.

Also creating outrage is the sale of precious Sardinian sand on e-commerce sites like eBay with local environment authorities calling for action to be taken.

Visitors who want a souvenir of their time on the magnificent island of Sardinia should leave the sand where it belongs, and instead take plenty of pictures and shop for local handicrafts.

Non portarmi via. Lasciate il riso dove sta. Spiaggia di Is Arutas ©Marco Assini:Flickr