Sand from the Sahara being brought to Majorca.


An alarm has been raised about the arrival of a cargo ship in Palma which is carrying over 4,000 cubic metres of sand from the Sahara: this amounts to 7,000 tonnes. It was initially raised by the association of friends of the Saharan people in the Balearics.

On Sunday, this association said that the ship, Southwester, was on its way to Majorca from Laayoune in Western Sahara. It added that the sand was being imported for beach regeneration purposes, something which the regional environment ministry has queried. The shipping agent has denied this, saying that the sand is for construction and for golf courses, specifically a client in Santa Ponsa.

The environment minister, Vicenç Vidal, says that it is his understanding that the sand is for construction but is waiting for a response from the Costas Authority to confirm that it isn't for beaches.

The ship was due to have docked on Monday night, but the Balearics Ports Authority explains that there wasn't room and so it has had to wait until today.

The association has denounced the "plunder" from the Sahara and says that it is a violation of international law and of a recent European Court of Justice ruling regarding the border between Morocco and Western Sahara. "The sand of the Sahara is now more and more a business for unscrupulous Spanish businesspeople, and it can be added to the extraction of phosphates and the exploitation of fishing stocks."

The Balearic parliament yesterday condemned the import and called on the Guardia Civil to prevent the unloading of "illegal" cargo. Vidal, in the name of the government, expressed his "solidarity with the Saharan people", who have been victims of the removal of natural resources.


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James / Hace over 4 years

What are the chances of micro-organisms, or other "critters" NOT native to Mallorca, finding their way here doing various and sundry mischiefs? Asking for a friend.


Steve Riches / Hace over 4 years

The African continent is basically being subsumed by Saharan sand. What's the problem with using it? It's hardly in short supply!