As in One-Note Samba

Here is how three humble professions, but that provided invaluable services to the country, disappeared thanks to the foresight of our politicians and governors

As in single-note Samba…I too always hit the same key, and I will do this every year, even though I know it doesn't lead to anything: there were three professions whose workers, although humble, were among those who best served the country.

The sides and slopes of the roads are protection strips and, whenever possible, they serve so that a vehicle can pull over with some safety, in an emergency, so they must be cleaned and maintained.

Photo 1 – Uncleaned roadside edges

Now the first photo, taken after the summer, shows the undergrowth covering the berm and slope, which can be seen on many roads in the Algarve, although the Municipal Councils had cleared some roads already in the heat of heat.

In the past, there were cornermen that, with their teams, they kept the side lanes of the roads in condition; now they are companies that, from time to time, are in charge of this work and then shave everything. However, the slopes must always have enough vegetation to ensure their stability.


Photo 2 - Stream crammed with vegetation

The second photo shows an Algarvian stream crammed with vegetation that prevents the normal flow of flow; this same stream, when it rains seriously, causes the floods that the third photo reveals.

Nobody cleans the streams, and this should fill the Ministry of Environment with pride. In the past, there were kingfishers who, with their teams, kept the streams clean and forced owners of marginal land to also clear land bordering the watercourses. Today, they are fire fuses with dried herbs…


Photo 3 - Flood in the river

The fourth photo: finally, the greatest tragedy that has, sometimes dramatically, devastated our country – forest fires.

Previously, there was a regional and local structure for the defense and management of forest areas, which was ensured by the Forestry Services, through its administrators and, above all, by the masters and rangers that were installed on the ground.

As we are a country of great ideas and innovations, they ended this institution and sent the forest guards, like police officers, to the GNR. Surveillance declined, the cleaning of the woods was no longer ensured, and fires reached proportions never seen before.


Photo 4 - The result of fires

The fires in Monchique and recently that in the Castro Marim region are examples of the inefficiency of methods and strategies to fight fires, where you never see a forestry engineer, but only gallons and chevrons of "officials and sergeants" of Civil Protection, the great "blanket" that covers everything - be there gods!

And not even the Mata Nacional da Conceição had a defense structure that any forester would have known how to set up, which is no wonder either, because a few years ago they let the Mata Nacional de Leria, the old Pinhal do Rei, where they had been used to burn. rangers, permanent workers have been removed and plots left to clean up. More words for what? Did any ruler worry too much about it?

And here's how three humble professions, but that provided invaluable services to the Country, disappeared thanks to the foresight of our politicians and governors, in an increasingly disconcert democracy and in the face of the people's inertia!!

I will remember this every year!…


Author Fernando Santos Pessoa is a forestry engineer and landscape architect…and writes with the spelling he learned at school.