Rain strips D. Ana beach of tons of its €1.8 million sand

Tons of the sand channeled onto Lagos’ Dona Ana beach this summer has been “washed away” by rain, proving the project a “complete waste”, claim environmentalists.

“Considering that the first rainy days of autumn have left the beach with hardly any sand, what will be left when the winter storms begin,” João Santos, the head of Almargem, queried.

Once dubbed “the most beautiful beach in the world” by Condé Naste Traveller magazine, Dona Ana was transformed earlier this summer by the arrival of 140,000sqm of sand which doubled the beach’s size in an attempt to keep people a safe distance from unstable cliffs.

Environmentalists said the intervention was a crime against nature, and Almargem even withdrew the gold quality rating it has long attributed to the beach.

With hardly a trace left of the millionaire sand, conservation group Quercus has joined the furore.

“How can engineers explain this”, president João Branco asked rhetorically. “Politicians only do what their technicians tell them. How can a mistake like this be explained?”

Almargem is also concerned by a water pipe that is now leaking rainwater onto the beach, which has started accumulating and becoming a public health hazard.

“It is filthy and it stinks,” said Santos.

The association is preparing an official complaint to the Public Prosecutor’s Office centering on the construction of a 50-metre dyke which “should have been subject to an environmental impact study”.

Portugal’s environmental agency (APA) has yet to comment.

Intriguingly, the Praia Dona Ana intervention was masterminded by the same Polis Litoral government agency that failed so spectacularly earlier this year to push through hundreds of controversial demolitions along Ria Formosa.

Photo © Bruno Filipe Pires/ Open Media