Check out this article from A Semana (27.12.12):
Petition calls for scrapping of plans for breakwater in Santa Maria 27 December 2012
This is the image that has environmentalists and practitioners of nautical sports in Cape Verde up in arms: a three-pronged breakwater intended to form an artificial bay on Algodoeiro beach, in Santa Maria (Sal island). The project put forth by the Meliá Lhana Beach group is expected to have a devastating impact on the local ecosystem. This Wednesday afternoon, a petition aimed at preventing the project from being approved was handed over to the Sal municipal chamber.
The business group’s proposal includes the construction of three jetties perpendicular to the coastline that would form a sheltered bay in which a beach would be created by artificially filling the space with sand. The projections are intended to be built with rocky material and pre-fabricated cement blocks. The breakwater, according to the promoters of the project, is aimed at improving bathing conditions for the tourists at the group’s hotels, the Dunas Beach Hotel, the Tortuga Beach Resort and the Meliá Llana Beach.
The blueprint for the project, considered a “monstrosity” by environmentalists and biologists, has already made its way around the world thanks to the Internet. Sal natives, Cape Verdeans living in the country and abroad, international water sports professionals and friends of the environment have all joined the cause of the members of environmental NGO SOS Tartarugas and world kite surf vice-champion Mitu Monteiro, adding their names to the petition calling for plans for the construction of the breakwater to be scrapped. The petition, “Five days to save Ponta Preta,” has so far garnered more than 3,500 signatures from net users in 75 different countries by way of Facebook, as well as 35 e-mails from people in countries that have had experience with the type of structure the business group intends to build.
The signatures and documents have delivered a “no” to a project that would be deadly to the ecosystem in the area surrounding Algodoeiro beach, including Ponta Preta, a beach that is a worldwide reference for nautical sports. “This is a project located inside a protected area that would completely alter the morphology of the zone with negative impacts that, for their part, will cause enormous upset with regards to the turtles that seek out the beach to nest. The reef will be completely destroyed, the beach will be modified, and this will put the formation of waves at risk. Turtles, fish and reefs will be destroyed with this breakwater, so we’re trying to protect something that is ours,” explains Selma Neves, one of the biologists with SOS Tartarugas.
The petition was also signed by former world kite surf champion and current vice-champion MMitu Monteiro, who has never made a secret of his concern with Ponta Preta beach. “On Ponta Preta beach we’re already feeling the affected by the winds that now blow in gusts because of the construction of hotels. If they go on to build these barriers, in the future we could have serious problems and jeopardize what is one of the best beaches in the world for the practicing of nautical sports. We shouldn’t forget that we’re on an island and we can’t alter a lot, or else we’ll have very negative consequences,” warns the internationally renowned athlete.
The document was handed in to the Sal municipal chamber, represented by councilman Antero Alfama, and is expected to be forwarded on to the proper institutions and authorities, such as investment and tourism promotion agency Cabo Verde Investimentos, the Maritime and Port Institute and the Directorate General of the Environment.
The project and its environmental impact study may be consulted, in Portuguese, on the site of Cape Verde’s Environmental Information System, www.sia.cv.
We will keep you updated on this issue.