There still seems to be confusion about the situation at Lagoa dos Salgados. There are misconceptions about the lagoon’s vulnerability and what should be done about it.
It’s all fairly simple really.
The biggest threat is not the hotel, villa and golf complex planned for nearby. The real and present danger is that the lagoon itself is being neglected and abused.
Its future could best be assured by designating the area a SPA, a Special Protected Area. SPAs are places of international importance for breeding, wintering and migrating birds, especially rare or endangered species. SPAs provide enhanced protection under EU law.
Portuguese government authorities have ruled this out. But another reasonably good solution has already been devised. To conserve this wetland habitat, it needs to be properly managed. This was recognised by several key national, regional, municipal and NGO bodies during years of deliberations culminating in an agreement in 2008.
Some of the parties have not abided by the agreement.
The authorities involved must overcome their indifference and ineptness. They must now get their act together. The ministry of environment must become absolutely committed and insist on proper management and protection.
It is absurd to ignore or let such a popular and ecologically important site disintegrate. It should be coveted as a national, natural treasure.
With a carefully conserved Lagoa dos Salgados, everyone can benefit in all sort of ways - even economically, for goodness sake, as it attracts so many birdwatching tourists and enhances the region's reputation.
It’s only common sense to look after the place.