Spain is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations for Britons, but it could turn out to be less beautiful than in previous years.

Environmentalists are urging local councils not to remove unsightly seaweed from beaches.

Their argument is that it’s all part of conservation and marine life and the fight against climate change.

In parts of Alicante, this is in effect, with the local government announcing yesterday that it has approved an order to protect it at all costs.

However, it is often unsightly and unpleasant for tourists to sunbathe.

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Other resorts across Spain also want to get rid of the algae, although beachgoers have to jump or wade over it to get into the sea.

The Spanish Institute of Coastal Ecology recommends delaying removal until peak season arrives.

Even so, they only recommend removing it on the most crowded beaches.

Valencia council had to remove some seagrass from crowded beaches due to the extreme heat.

However, it has introduced conservation measures that British tourists may not be most satisfied with.

The Institute of Coastal Ecology said: “Algae and marine plant debris have important ecological roles for coastal ecosystems.


“This role is clearly defined in the criteria by which beaches can obtain Blue Flag status.”

The Blue Flag website states: “The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary awards for beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators.

To qualify for a Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained. “

The Institute of Coastal Ecology continues that coastal areas are not simply an “asset in the local recreational industry that just needs to be kept clean”, but also a “living and natural habitat”.

Tourists have been reminded that until algae becomes “harmful” to beachgoers, it is “inevitable and should be accepted” as part of nature.

The institute recommends that when possible, the first option should be to leave the debris behind – “precisely because of its important role for the environment and for the protection of the beach”.

Scientific director Gabriel Soler explains that when companies are brought in to clean up algae, 80% of the material removed is actually sand. thus contributed to beach erosion.

Because this contributes to beach erosion, he found: “The longer the posidonia is left, the better.”

But he made the distinction; while the problem exists in coves and natural beaches year-round, it can be cleared up on urban beaches during peak season.

This is mid-June – August.

Spanish politician Monica Oltra explains that the sixth degree “fulfills the need to protect these ecosystems due to their environmental wealth, as they are home to more than 400 species of plants and 1,000 species of animals, many of which are of commercial interest and some are seriously threatened.”

But despite the environmental positives, visual pollution is proving too much for some tourists.

In Ibiza’s Platja d’en Bossa, one businessman claimed: “We used to have four rows of hammocks, but now we don’t even have a beach.”

Locals have also taken to social media to express their displeasure, with one commenting: “Posidonia is decomposing organic matter, piling up on urban tourist beaches being one health hazard. It smells rotten.”

Posidonia oceanica, also known as Neptune grass or Mediterranean ice grass, is a species of seagrass found in the Mediterranean Sea.

The local council said that in areas where the sand had been washed away, posidonia was being left “to act as a natural barrier and thus favor beach regeneration”.

In Elche, beach councilor Héctor Díez said that since May 9, they have cleared 200 cubic meters of posidonia to improve the “image” of the area, and this will increase in the coming weeks.

However, he explained that the seawater was actually a sign of the good quality of the water on the Elche coast, while he lamented that it was a nuisance to beachgoers.

In beach-filled Benidorm, the local council is raising awareness for tourists to appreciate the importance of posidonia and sustainable tourism.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.


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