"The sand that is being used on Madeira is coming from North Africa, from the zone of Western Sahara", explained a local Madeira official to the Portuguese news service Lusa. The beach was being made by "half a dozen ships of different size".
This is the second artificial beach on Madeira, after the initial 2004 Calheta beach, which has been labelled "a success" by the local authorities. WSRW wrote about Calheta beach earlier this year.
22.000 tonnes of sand were supposedly used for the construction of the new beach in Machico County. The new 125 meter long, 70 meter wide beach was inaugurated on the 29th of September 2008.
As far as Western Sahara Resource Watch knows, representatives of the Saharawi people have not been consulted in the process of the sand purchase. Therefore, the Portuguese imports are probably in violation of international law.