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Famous Greek beach to fine tourists for taking stones

It might seem like an innocuous act, but you might want to think again the next you consider taking a stone from your next visit to a pebble beach - especially if that beach is on the Greek Isle of Skiathos. 


Authorities on the popular island are taking action against tourists who take pebbles from Lalaria beach - probably its most famous strand - as souvenirs, claiming the practice is destroying the environment of the beautiful beach. 


Image Skiathos Cultural Center


In a new campaign, island officials have asked tourists to “Take a picture, not a pebble”. 


“The beach has been characterised as a monument of nature known worldwide [because] of these pebbles and the green-blue water," Skiathos Cultural Center head Thodoris Tzoumas said.


“But lately we have seen that most of these pebbles were taken away. Thousands of tourists used to take the pebbles as souvenirs.”


According to SBS, pebble smugglers will also be fined up to 1,000 euros ($1,620) when they’re caught.  


Along with signs at the beach and on boats warding off potential ‘thieves’, there is now a “return box” at Skiathos airport for guilted tourists to give back pebbles. After its installation, Mr Tzoumas said the new box “was soon full of pebbles”.


Accessible only by boat, Lalaria beach has become a tourist hotspot, thanks partly to its appearance in the recent ‘Mamma Mia’ films. Authorities say this upsurge is also largely to blame for the theft of the pebbles. 


However, according to the Greek Reporter, local residents are also contributing to the ‘demise’ of the beach, taking pebbles to decorate their homes or to sell them.        


Innocent act or crime? What are your thoughts on the issue?


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 26 September 2018

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