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Protect Porto Santo’s Sand Dunes

The Regional Government has announced that they will protect Porto Santo’s sand dune line from the effects of steadily rising sea levels. The decision was announced this morning, 13th of October, by the Regional Secretary for the Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, Susana Prada, as part of the LIFE DUNAS.

According to Susana Prada, who is currently taking part in two initiatives on the island, sea levels are expected to rise by one centimetre per year, a situation that “will leave the south coast of the island extremely vulnerable to sea storms.  Protecting the sand dunes will act as a barrier against storms and rising levels of sea water, which in turn will protect the islands population, property and economy.”

Participating in this meeting was professor César Andrade, from the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Lisbon, who is a specialist in geology, geomorphology, coastal sedimentology, coastal processes and risk assessment. According to the professor, the beach at Porto Santo may be threatened by climate change, one aspect of which concerns rising levels of sea water. It is for this reason that, in his opinion, “it is important to preserve this important environment now!”

The sandy beaches at Porto Santo are intrinsically linked to the dunes and those in the Calheta area have already been heavily degraded by tidal action. This project [LIFE DUNAS] aims to reconstruct the original morphology of the dunes and from that reconstruction, “Deepen knowledge, involve the population and build a defense against the impact of the oceans actions.”

It should be noted that the LIFE DUNAS is part of the Regional Government’s strategy to combat climate change, and is of particular importance given the high vulnerability of the island regions.

The work on the dunes will take place over the next five years at a cost of some three million euros.

Samantha Gannon

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