One of the most popular summer holiday destinations among foreign tourists may become less picturesque this time and attractive than in previous years. We are talking about the resorts of Spain, the beaches of which were covered with “rotting” silt – the local authorities ordered not to clean it up.
As reported by the Spanish media, officials were guided in their decision by the conclusion of environmental experts. In their opinion, bottom formations are part of marine life and its conservation, as well as the fight against climate change.
For example, in parts of Alicante, located on the Costa Blanca of the Mediterranean Sea, this rule came into force, and on May 20, local authorities announced that they had approved an order to protect decaying algae at all costs. The rot looks and smells unsightly, roughly like the beaches of Anapa in July-August, and irritates sunbathing tourists. It is clarified that other resorts across Spain are also determined to preserve the seaweed slush, despite the fact that beachgoers have to jump or wade through it to enter the sea.
What are the environmentalists saying?< /strong>
The Spanish Institute of Coastal Ecology has recommended postponing the cleaning of the “rot” until the high season, but it will not be removed everywhere, but only on the busiest beaches. The Council of Valencia, which includes the resort city of Alicante, had to clear some of the sea grass from busy beaches in the third week of May due to the abnormally hot weather that has set in Spain. However, officials have introduced measures to conserve algae deposits on the rest of the coastline, which may not appeal to foreign tourists.
The Institute of Coastal Ecology said: “Algae and marine plant remains play an important ecological role in coastal ecosystems.
“This role is clearly spelled out in the criteria for beaches to be awarded Blue Flag status.”
Here is what the Blue Flag website states: “The famous Blue Flag is one of the world's most recognized voluntary awards for beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators. To be awarded the Blue Flag, a set of strict environmental, educational, safe and affordable criteria must be met.”
The Institute of Coastal Ecology explained that Spain's coastal regions are not just “a local recreational asset that needs only to be maintained cleanliness”, but rather “the natural and living environment”. Tourists were reminded that until algae becomes “harmful” to beachgoers, it is “inevitable and should be accepted” as part of nature.
Scientific director Gabriel Soler explained that when firms were brought in to clean up the algae, 80 percent of the material cleaned was actually sand, thus contributing to the erosion of the beach. In addition, he found that “the longer the posidonia (genus of sea grass) remains, the better.” But this can “kill” the desire of tourists to come to Spanish resorts, so the “rotting” silt was left only in the bays and natural beaches lie all year round, but they were allowed to clean up on city beaches during the high season, which falls between June and August. The rest of the time, tourists will have to adapt.
Spanish politician Monica Oltra explained that the actions of the authorities “respond to the need to protect these ecosystems because of their great ecological wealth, as they are inhabited by more than 400 plant species and 1,000 animals, many of which are of commercial interest, and some of which may disappear.” But despite the environmental benefits, the visual pollution is too much for some tourists. In the Platja d “en Bossa bar in Ibiza, one businessman said: “We used to have up to four rows of hammocks, but now there is not even a beach.”
Locals also took to social networks to express their displeasure , one of them commented on the situation as follows: “Posidonia decomposes organic matter, it is dangerous to accumulate them on urban tourist beaches. They smell of rot.”
Help: Posidonia oceanica, also known as Neptune's grass or Mediterranean tapeworm, is a species of algae found in the Mediterranean Sea.
The local council said that in areas where sand has been washed away, posidonia is left “in order to act as a natural barrier and thus contribute to the restoration of the beach.”
In the small town of Elche, 200 cubic meters of posidonia have been cleaned since May 9 to improve the “image” of the area, and this figure will increase in the coming weeks, beach council member Hector Diez said. However, he explained that algae is actually a sign of good water quality on the Elche coast, and lamented that it was a nuisance for beachgoers. And in coastal Benidorm, the local council does not intend to abandon its environmental plans and explains to visiting tourists about the importance of posidonia, despite the discontent of the latter.
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