Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Stunning European island slaps £2,500 fines on tourists who flout major rule

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun10,2024

Authorities on the Italian island of Sardinia are cracking down on tourists who pilfer natural treasures from its world-renowned beaches. This year alone, several visitors have been caught attempting to smuggle sand, stones, and archaeological remains off the island.

In one instance, a French tourist was intercepted trying to take home stalagmites and shells, while a German family was found with a kilo of stones from the seabed.

These incidents are part of a larger pattern of holidaymakers disregarding local regulations to pocket souvenirs from Sardinia’s pristine coastal areas.

Sardinia’s white sand beaches are famous worldwide with a whopping 2,000km of coastline, sandy beaches and a mountainous landscapes presenting hiking trails for visitors.

But taking, holding, or selling sand, pebbles, stones, or shells from the coast or sea can result in hefty fines of up to €3,000 (£2,500). More severe penalties, including jail time, can be imposed for theft of public assets.

Last year, a Frenchman was arrested after authorities discovered 41 kilograms of pebbles and stones from Lampianu beach in the boot of his car. This highlights the extent of the issue, which goes beyond a few mementos and poses significant ecological threats.

Environmental scientist Pierluigi Cocco stressed the impact of such activities in a BBC interview following the 2019 arrest of a French couple with 14 plastic bottles filled with sand.

“Only a fraction of the tourists visiting Sardinia spend their time digging up to 40kg of sand each,” he said.

“But if you multiply half that amount times 5 per cent of the one million tourists per year, in a few years that would contribute significantly to the reduction of beaches.”

In 2021, the advocacy group Sardinia Robbed and Plundered (Sardegna rubata e depredata) estimated that by mid-August, at least six tonnes of sand had been taken from the island’s beaches. The group attributes this behaviour to various motives, from a desire to impress friends to attempting to preserve holiday memories.

“Most people don’t really have a motive,” a campaigner from the group wrote on Facebook. “Perhaps to arouse the envy of friends and relatives, to relive the emotion of the holiday in their drawing room, or even to decorate an aquarium.”

The group added: “(Tourists are likely) trying desperately, but unfortunately in vain, to take a piece of it away [in] their hands, instead of keeping memories in memory and heart.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Stunning European island slaps £2,500 fines on tourists who flout major rule”
  1. As a frequent traveler, I find it appalling that some tourists continue to disrespect the beauty of Sardinia’s natural landscapes by selfishly taking souvenirs. It’s crucial to educate visitors on the importance of preserving these delicate ecosystems. Strong measures are necessary to protect such precious environments for future generations.

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