Ria Formosa demolitions - asbestos and debris now littering the islands

demolishThe association ‘Almargem’ already has publicly expressed its disagreement with the way the house demolition operation was planned for the Ria Formosa islands.

At Faro Beach the more modest houses have been demolished and the 2 and 3 floor buildings have been left standing, which makes no sense from an environmental point of view.

On the island of Culatra, houses have been knocked down at Hangares, which is one of the places least at risk on the island, and buildings at Farol point have been left, which shows the unfair way the whole process has been handled.

But now that the demolitions are going ahead, other issues arise.

As was the case a few years ago, although on a much smaller scale, it seems that the care being taken regarding the handling and transport of waste materials leaves much to be desired.

The houses are being knocked down with heavy machinery which may ensure a more rapid process but it involves the production of a huge amount of mixed debris that cannot be collected and that has been left in the sand.

Worst of all is that some of this debris contains asbestos, the processing of which requires extreme care, taking into account the degree of danger to the environment and to human health.

Taking into account the environmental illegalities and the social injustices that are being created by the demolition process, and the present and future danger to the health of citizens due to the improper handling of tons of asbestos, Almargem is appealing to the Minister for the Environment to order the immediate suspension of demolition operations in the Ria Formosa and to conduct a review of the operations already carried out in order to avoid further damage.

A petition now has been launched on Avaaz:


What is Almargem?

Almargem is a non-profit association founded in the city of Loulé on June 1988 and officially registered in the city of Silves, on July the same year.

The main purposes of Almargem are:

    the study and divulgation of the most significant historical, cultural and natural values of the Algarve;
    the uncompromising safeguard of these same values and the suggestion of realistic propositions for their recovery and qualification;
    the promotion of activities pursuing an integrated and nature respectful local development.

Almargem's main office is located in Loulé. The association is sustained on approved Statutes and Internal Rules. The functional structure relies on the volunteerism and autonomy of its members that elect the Social Bodies in a General Meeting, each two years.

Legally, Almargem is an environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) of regional scope, being registered in the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA). Almargem is also a founding member of the Confederation of Portuguese environmental associations (CPADA).

Almargem is constantly developing diversified activities like cultural and ecological awareness raising projects, nature and rural world discovery and promotion actions, production of studies and scientific dossiers. Almargem also tries hard to maintain constant vigilance and involvement regarding the threats and aggressions that affect the environment and the cultural heritage of Algarve.


Almargem Association
R. de S. Domingos, 65 - 8100-536 Loulé
Tel. 289412959
Fax 289414104

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