The government’s insistence on pushing ahead with the construction Lisbon’s 2nd (long-awaited) passenger terminal in Montijo – despite all the glaring arguments against – has seen bird protection society SPEA and two investigators deliver a complaint against the Portuguese State for violating the international ‘African-Eurasian waterbird Agreement’, drawn up to protect 255 species of aquatic migratory birds.
Explain the critics, the environmental damage the airport will cause massively outweighs “temporary financial gain”.
This is just the latest episode in a controversy that saw infrastructures minister Pedro Nuno Santos admit last week that there is ‘no time or money’ to seek an alternative location now, even if Montijo isn’t the best choice (click here).
Arguments against establishing a busy passenger terminal in a highly-populated residential area include the obvious threat of increased noise pollution for thousands in the flight path, increased risks to health, the threat of ‘bird strike’ – due to the proximity of a significant birding wetland – and the threat of flooding – due to Montijo’s low-lying situation close to the Tejo river.
Conservationists have long stressed the lunacy of ‘contingency arrangements’ which involve ‘moving birds elsewhere’, and now this latest bid reinforces their argument, invoking the international agreement that covers 119 ‘Range States’, from Europe to parts of Asia, Canada, the Middle East and Africa.
Said investigator José Alves “the way I see it, environmental questions are so much more important that temporary financial gain created at the cost of natural heritage which cannot be recovered”.
The complaint against Portugal was lodged on the day APA environmental agency was expected to finally give the project the ‘green light’.
For background reading, click here