Piles of washed up rubbish have transformed Tavira’s once golden sand beach Praia Deserta into a seaside landfill, covering the shoreline with all kinds of plastic waste, glass, cans, car parts, fishing equipment and even “a packet of butter from the 1970s”.
An online petition demanding action and accountability has already gathered over 1,300 signatures.
Local citizens and fishermen believe that the refuse sat at the bottom of the Gilão River for decades but was released into the ocean during the dredging works that were carried out between November 2018 and February this year. The rubbish has since been washing ashore and covering the Praia Deserta beach.
Fishing and port authority Docapesca has denied any responsibility, claiming it did everything ‘by the book’ and that all the sludge that was released into the sea near Cabanas was filtered and underwent tests to prevent any contaminated refuse from being released.
But the lack of accountability for what many are calling an “environmental disaster” is angering locals, who stress that the rubbish could not have come from anywhere else except the river.
“This is city waste. This isn’t rubbish that is being washed ashore from the sea,” local resident João Diniz told the Resident.
“We have been finding plastic waste with expiration dates that are decades old. This isn’t the kind of common waste that would be washed up from the sea; this is decades worth of rubbish that was on the riverbed and later dumped out at sea,” he added.
At the time of writing, a petition launched by João Diniz had already amassed over 1,300 signatures (click here)
Read more in this week’s print edition of the Algarve Resident, out tomorrow (April 4).
Photo: JOÃO DINIZ