LifestyleTourists fined for stealing Sardinia's precious beach treasures

Tourists fined for stealing Sardinia's precious beach treasures

The local nature conservation guard carries sand and shells confiscated at the airport or in ports to the beach.
The local nature conservation guard carries sand and shells confiscated at the airport or in ports to the beach.
Images source: © Guardie Ambientali Sardegna
Ilona Raczyńska

9 July 2024 08:24

In Sardinia, as every holiday season, tourists who decide to take something from the beach besides tan and good memories, sand, shells, and pebbles appear. The problem is that this is forbidden and strictly punished on the Italian island.

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea by area. Its paradise beaches are famous worldwide. Unfortunately, tourists have been taking sand and shells from its beaches by the handful for years, which is why strict regulations have been in place since 2017 to prevent this practice.

Signs with the rules currently in force in Sardinia are posted in seaside towns. An ongoing information campaign is also underway. However, according to Italian media, it is still not enough.

A huge mistake in Sardinia

Tourists still pack beach "souvenirs" in bags or bottles and try to take them away with impunity. Sometimes, they even send these finds by mail, but the authorities, who are very vigilant, catch them.

Every year, Italian customs officials at airports and ports confiscate hundreds of kilograms of such loot from tourists. These individuals often offer silly excuses, claiming they didn't know it was not allowed.

The beaches of Sardinia are famous for their beautiful sand.
The beaches of Sardinia are famous for their beautiful sand.© Adobe Stock | ANDREA MORGANTI

Entire suitcases of shells and stones

Recently, tourists from Italy and Germany were detained for such an escapade. During a check at the port in Olbia, from where they were departing by ferry from Sardinia, it turned out they had suitcases full of shells and stones taken from the coast of Budoni in the Sassari province.

German tourists hid their Sardinian "souvenirs" in a camper they planned to use to sail towards Genoa.

Everything that was confiscated was sent to the customs agency. The shells and stones will then be returned to the beach.

As the Sardegna Rubata e Depredata (Sardinia Looted and Robbed) Association reminded us, according to the established practice, sand, shells, and recovered stones are always returned to the beaches. If their exact origin can be determined, they are even returned to a specific place.

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