WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A French tourist was fined $1200 for trying to leave the island of Sardinia with a bottle of beach sand.
- Law prohibits tourists from taking the Italian island’s unique pink and white sand from its beaches.
- Tourists can face heavy fines and even jail time if they ignore this regulation.
Beach sand can be a great souvenir, but is it worth paying over a thousand dollars?
A French tourist tried to fly out of Sardinia, Italy with 4.4 pounds of local white sand and was ordered to pay a fine of €1,000 ($1,200).
The incident happened on September 1 at Cagliari Elmas Airport. A spokesman for the island’s Forest Rangers said the bottle containing the sand was confiscated and is being kept in their “operating room” for confiscated items. Every year, they usually accumulate many bottles of sand.
The island’s “incredible” pink and white sand is protected, and it’s against the law to remove it from local beaches. Tourists can face fines or even jail time if they flout this law which was introduced in 2017 because such incidents were becoming more and more problematic. Depending on the quantity of sand taken and where it was removed from, the fines can range between €500 and €3,000 ($600-$3,500).
According to the spokesman, they discovered a website selling Sardinian sand as souvenirs. Over the past three years, controls and regulations have become “much more rigorous” with more serious sanctions and more cooperation with the police.
Locals can also contact authorities if they see tourists attempting to make away with the sand.
Last year, a French couple visiting the island was discovered to have 88 pounds of sand, which the police seized. A British resident also tried to take sand from a beach near the northern city of Olbia in 2018 and was fined over $1,000.