If you visit Sardinia and fall under the island’s spell, you might want to take a slice of the isle home with you — but if you’re thinking of pilfering a pocket of the shoreline’s golden grains, you should think again.
Sand thieves are now being warned that they could be fined anywhere from €500 (roughly $580) to €3,000 (roughly $3,482) if they are caught with sand, pebbles or shells taken from Sardinia’s beaches.
‘Robbed and plundered’
Tourists may not be aware of the severity of their crime when they fill a bottle or plastic bag with sand and take it home.
But in recent years, authorities in Sardinia have cracked down on sand theft and are stressing the consequences of this robbery.
Beaches have clear signs warning that these offenses will not be tolerated.
Sand thieves are usually spotted at airports, where customs officials can search bags or the sand might get picked up by airport scanners.
Locals and authorities are keen to find a balance between encouraging tourism and discouraging theft.
On the Sardininan island of Budelli, La Spiaggia Rosa — a beautiful beach colored pink thanks to the local microorganisms — has been cordoned off since the 1990s to protect its blush-colored sand from erosion due to tourism.
According to Morandi, showing visitors the beauty of the beaches helps protect them.
“I am very satisfied with my visibility, because I think it can help to appreciate the beauty [and] therefore the respect and protection of nature,” he said.
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