Previous Next

MedArtSal, towards a sustainable future of the Mediterranean Salinas

Wherever you go, along the 46,000 kilometers of coastline of the 22 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, you will suddenly see a white salt hill appear on the horizon. Homer called it "divine essence", the Romans even made it a currency of exchange. Over the centuries, the salt has inspired cults and religious myths, triggered wars (read the story here). "White gold" has traveled endless navigation routes, connecting banks and ports in the network of relationships that we recognize as the founding heritage of our culture. But above all, the salt pans have preserved the harmony between man and the environment, between well-being and conservation; animal and plant species have adorned the unrepeatable beauty of our landscapes. 

Like many other traditional productive activities in the world, the Mediterranean salt pans today suffer from the industrialization of the extraction process, while the hundreds of species that inhabit them are threatened by coastal urbanization. Artisan techniques and materials, local languages ​​and cultures decay and vanish. Thus, the pools of water that are tinged with red in autumn, rare and fragile species such as flamingos, avocets and waders that nest and overwinter in the transition areas of the wetlands. 

The MEDSEA Foundation has made the protection and sustainable development of the Mediterranean coasts its reason for existing. This is why we have enthusiastically embraced the EU-Med MedArtSal cooperation project, which will result in the creation of a new commercial paradigm for the benefit of artisanal salt pans. This is already happening through the strengthening of partnerships with those involved in the sectors of sustainable production and tourism, the promotion of collaborations at the corporate, social, environmental level, articulating them in a new governance model. 

Within MedArtSal, which involved numerous partners in four different countries, MEDSEA took care of the Italian salt pans. After two years of analysis, planning and dialogue, we have collected the first results (read the projects). The Cervia salinas work to restore and create nests for the large bird population living in its wetlands and, thanks to the purchase of a special oven, the production and sale of a very refined smoked salt. 

In Marsala, the funds are used instead to restore the traditional embankments that separate the Ettore & Infersa salt pans from the sea. The engineering techniques are based on a circular economy approach and on ancient construction traditions, in particular the use of local tuff blocks. The project was also able to recover the existing blocks and complete the route with around 10,000 new ones. The embankment section was enlarged with material recovered from the tank cleaning, making the embankment passable by electric vehicles. The restoration of the walkway will become a route accessible to tourists from April to October. 

Similar projects have also been developed in Spain, Tunisia and Lebanon. Each according to its history, its needs, its perspectives. All together we met recently in Tunis on 24 and 25 March, for the fair entitled "Towards a sustainable future of our Mediterranean salt pans". Two splendid, very important days of celebration and discussion that served to imagine the next stages of a long journey between the shores of the Mare Nostrum where the white hills of white gold rise, where environment, culture and well-being coexist. 



Manuela Puddu

Construction engineer MEDSEA

Latest news