Livre warns of negative impacts that the Monte Gordo Sand Experience will have in the environment

Event starts today and runs until Sunday

The sand of the beach Monte Gordo, in Vila Real de Santo António, will host, starting today, November 17th, and until Sunday, the 19th, the FIM Sand Racing World Cup, an event that, warns the Livre party, will have several «impacts negative effects on the environment.

In a note sent to the newsrooms, Livre says that «it was with great apprehension» that it saw approved at the Ordinary Meeting of the Municipal Council of Vila Real de Santo António (VRSA), held on the 7th of September, a Motor Sports Festival, held on the beach from the beach of Monte Gordo.

The competition, promoted by the Chamber of VRSA and organized by the Automóvel Clube de Portugal (ACP), is aimed at motorcycles and quads that will circulate on a 5-kilometer circuit on the beach and a walkway along the route.

In a note, this party warns of the fact that «the dunes and the beach represent ecosystems that play a fundamental role in preserving nature, in addition to providing a series of ecological services, from maintaining the coastal strip, preventing floods and creating of habitats for several species" and, therefore, "as one of the municipality's objectives is to promote and increase the community's level of environmental awareness, the approval of this event that is so harmful to the environment is not understandable."

As the most relevant negative impacts, Livre highlights that, during the event, there will be «surface destruction of the dune cordon, atmospheric pollution due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and soil contamination due to hydrocarbon spills».

Contacted by Sul Informação, Álvaro Araújo, mayor of Vila Real de Santo António, stated that he understands Livre's concerns and that he was aware of this note, but clarified that «these concerns will not make sense because we will take all precautions».

«The race will take place on the sand, not on the dunes, and, therefore, the impact will be almost zero. After the test, we will prove that everything will stay as it was and no harm will happen", in addition to that "the APA gave a favorable opinion and we could never move forward without the opinion of the competent authorities", said the mayor.



In a note, Livre also reinforces that the area where the event takes place “had recently been intervened with a view to renaturalizing the coastal area, in addition to the fact that national legislation itself prohibits the “circulation of motorized vehicles on the beaches” under the terms of paragraph 1 of article 17 of the Coastal Planning Plans – Decree-law no. 159/2012 of 24 July».

«On a planet with finite resources, this type of tournament is completely outside the objectives and targets contained in different political instruments, such as the National Energy and Climate Plan and the Glasgow Declaration “For more ecological tourism”, which establish commitments to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and a less polluting economic model», writes the party.

Claiming to be a way of «avoiding any negative impact of the event on ecosystems», the Vila Real de Santo António Chamber created a technical team responsible for the preparation, implementation and monitoring of an Environmental Enhancement Plan, but, in the words of Livre, this plan “does not guarantee the reversal or reduce the risk situations and anticipated environmental impacts”.

In this plan, available on the event website, the VRSA municipality guarantees, among other things, «the restoration of all initial conditions of the beach», «that the crossing to it is carried out through duly marked accesses, without interfering with the dune areas», «the non-existence of damage or interference with the longitudinal walkway", "the monitoring of sand and water quality, before, during and after the event", and "the implementation of actions aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of the event, such as the planting of pine trees, the distribution of information regarding good practices and the reinforcement of equipment for collecting unsorted and recyclable waste». And he reinforces that «the test was carried out with a positive opinion from the competent authorities».



Considered an unprecedented competition in Portugal, the Municipality of Vila Real de Santo António had already highlighted the thousands of visitors that the event brings to the region, in low season, boosting commerce and hotels.

«It is estimated that the municipality's hotels and neighboring areas will register, during the race, maximum occupancy levels, acting as a stimulus for the tourist recovery», the municipality said in September.

«It is important that there are events that counter seasonality and that bring more activities in low seasons, however these must ensure a balance between environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational aspects», considers Livre.

In a note, this party considers that the municipality of VRSA, located in large natural areas, Sapal de Castro Marim and VRSA, Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, Mata Nacional, Beaches, «must, above all, strive for sustainable tourism, which protect your natural heritage, free from GHG emissions and that fits into the commitments and goals of the various national and European political instruments».

O Sul Informação tried to contact the Portuguese Environment Agency to find out if this entity authorized the event, and in what way, but did not receive any response until the date of publication of this news.


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