“Dona Ana crime” leads Almargem to complain to Brussels

An official complaint regarding the controversial sand replenishment project still in place at Lagos’ Dona Ana beach is to be sent to the European Commission (EC) and Portugal’s Public Prosecutor’s Office, environmental association Almargem has announced.

In a statement posted online, the association says the project that has channelled over 140,000sqm of sand onto the flagship beach is a “serious and premeditated crime that cannot go unpunished”.

Almargem also questions why no environmental impact study was conducted before an “underwater world and maritime landscape of this sublime stretch of coast” was buried under tons of sand”, while elsewhere a 50-metre dyke has been carved into the landscape.

Environment Minister Jorge Moreira da Silva – already dubbed Public Enemy No 1 for his insistence that 800 homes must be demolished in Ria Formosa for “environmental reasons” – has reacted to the news, stressing that all the government wanted to do was “keep people safe” from unstable cliffs.

“What is the government and the municipality supposed to do? Put citizens at risk at the cost of trying to keep a landscape intact?” the minister wrote on his Facebook page.

“Or are we supposed to channel more sand onto the beach, and bring it back to the size that it is said to have had in the 1950s and 60s, giving it the right balance between landscape, environmental protection and people’s safety,” he queried.

The €1.8 million project is expected to reach its end this week, leaving behind an unrecognisable beach for those who have been returning year after year.

It was the previously untouched landscape that helped the beach be considered “the most beautiful in the world” by Condé Nast Traveller magazine in 2013.