The Wetlands of Santa Gilla and Molentargius, included in the Conservation Wetlands of the Ramsar Convention , are located in two focal positions within the town of Cagliari. With their significant extension of 5,600 and 1,600 hectares respectively, they contribute to the generation of ecosystems with a delicate balance from several perspectives: nature, landscape, territorial development of metropolitan Cagliari. Hence the Wetlands have a significant impact on the micro-climate and affect the quality of life of the urban areas around them. How could we not remember the direct consequences for the city of several episodes of environmental degradation of the two wetlands, such as the cholera epidemic of 1973, fed by the pollution of Santa Gilla and the abandoned productive cycle of the State Salt Factory following the dumping of waste waters in Molentargius? Within the delicate environmental system of Molentargius, the presence of the salt ponds plays a fundamental role on the quality of air, though one that is almost invariably neglected. What would the quality of air be, throughout the metropolitan area of Cagliari, without the influence of humidity and evaporation brought by the salt extraction system? The close dependence between the health of the Wetlands and the quality of life of the settled communities highlights the need to pay great attention to their protection. In the past, this was almost the exclusive prerogative of the environmental groups, who in Santa Gilla sided with the fishermen operating on the lagoon, and in Molentargius focused on conservation and protection of the waterfowl, as if the defense of the Cagliari Wetlands only regarded these issues which are relevant but also sectoral and hence create a limit to the more desirable holistic approach to environmental planning. A holistic approach would require building composite indicators to control for the impact of territorial policies on the quality of urban life, obtained through a shared incremental approach based on a first “expert definition” which is then discussed and verified via participation of the local communities. The classification of the Santa Gilla Wetland as “natural reserve” (Regional Law (L.R.) n. 31/1989) and the creation of the Regional Natural Park of Molentargius-Saline (L.R. n. 5/1999) were not sufficient on their own for the question of the Wetlands to become a priority for the territorial development policies of the local administrations, or even for the cultural debate of the political forces and the media. In order to define the more recent developments of the Park, it is useful to mention some interventions that took place in its territory. The Ramsar Consortium, with ministerial financing to the tune of 120 billion lire (ministerial funds allocated by Law n. 67/88 (the 1988 State Budget Law), art. 17, par. 20), carried out several actions aimed at managing the hydrological system, environmental cleanup, restoring the environmental conditions for salt production, setting up the Park’s recreational outdoor activities, and restoring one of the most important buildings of the “City of Salt”, the Selected Salt Building, between the end of the ’90s and the beginning of the new century . Other minor actions included fixing the road system of Is Arenas-Medau Su Cramu, building an irrigation system using the waters of the Is Arenas purifier, improving the sewage system and public lighting. Very close to the Park, even though outside its boundaries, the disastrous beach reclamation work in the Poetto coast line also took place. This was carried out only to a first phase, and then blocked, once the results of using a type of sand which was very different from the original one in color, consistency and granulometry became clear. A worthy project for control and protection of the Park was carried out with the support of an EU LIFE project, entailing the placement of ten webcams in the Quartu Sant’Elena area of the Park for bird watching, fire sighting and hunting control.
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