The sands at Praia de Faro

There won’t be many solutions…but there are

A more violent storm threw tons of sand onto the road to Praia de Faro, over an appreciable length; but, if we look at the rest of the dune chain that extends in the east direction, beyond the houses, the damage was minimal and only in the first row of small dunes.

For decades, situations like this have happened every winter. Of course, in the event of a stronger storm, the consequences are worse. And this year seems to break all records…

There won't be many solutions; There has already been talk of a wall – which will have to be so high that it prevents the sand from overtopping, but it would be difficult to imagine a wall next to the road, with the various openings to enter the beach.

The other solution will be to try to fix the sand.

A good couple of years ago, most of the dune cordon was fixed, by decision of architect Nuno Lecoq when he was director of the Natural Park, and whom I encouraged to do so, because he already had experience of this type of intervention.

Speaking of myself, when I did my professional internship as a forester in the Marinha Grande forest (if I or anyone could ever imagine the disappearance by fire of that centuries-old forest, due to the abandonment that was voted for by the new forest science in force…), I had the privilege of following the work to fix the dunes of São Pedro de Muel, a type of intervention in which the Netherlands gave great impetus.

This was at a time when the Forestry Services were concerned with the different ways of acting in the country's sensitive landscapes.

Later, I carried out this work in the dunes on the north coast of the island of Porto Santo.

I write this to explain that I do not speak without knowledge of the facts.

While the fixation of the dunes of Ilha de Faro it remained in good condition, there were never any sand inlets for the road with the dimensions of recent years; but the fixation of the sand along the road was deteriorating due to lack of maintenance and excessive crossing by people who did not respect the protection.

To the east, however, and although the structures have disappeared, as the dunes had been given time to recover, today the damage is minimal.

The only president of the Chamber who listened to me and accepted my suggestion, over the last few years, was engineer Macário Correia. However, he did not remain in office long enough to implement the action.

With the greater civic education that, I believe, exists among the population today to respect the protection that will be required after the sands are fixed, the damage that now occurs every year would be reduced, although there are some more problematic areas there.

Of course, a stronger storm can always cause major changes, but once the sand is fixed, they will be less serious.

Furthermore, such an action can be carried out with volunteers, using youth associations, and transform this intervention into an act of citizenship that would ennoble the city. It will always be cheaper than that wall – and ecologically and aesthetically incomparably better.

Here's the idea.


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

Photos: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação


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