Tourists are being slapped with huge fines and sand seized from their suitcases in a bid to crackdown on sand theft from beaches of Sardinia.
Local authorities re working with Olbia Airport to return sand, pebbles and shells confiscated from tourists’ luggage to beaches on Sardinia’s famous Emerald Coast.
There will also be signs in the arrivals of Olbia Airport warning visitors not to collect any sand or shells from beaches. Signs will be translated into many languages.
Visitors have been known to help themselves to handfuls of the fine white – and sometimes pink – sand that has made the island’s coast a popular holiday destination, resulting in the loss of tonnes of sand each year.
Authorities at Olbia Airport carry out systematic bag checks to catch passengers smuggling sand, an offence punishable by fines of between €500 to €3000.
Over the past 10 years, they have seized around 10 tonnes of sand, according to the director of a marine reserve off Sardinia’s north-eastern coast. Around 500 klg of sand was seized from ferry passengers last summer.