Spain holiday warning as British tourists told to put up with miles of ‘smelly rotten mud’ on family beaches

BRITS traveling to Spain this summer have been warned they will have to endure miles of “stinky rotten mud” on the beaches.

Environmentalists say they’ve realized huge mounds of seaweed washed up by bad weather look and smell terrible and are hated by sunbathing tourists.

Spanish beaches are covered with seaweed


Spanish beaches are covered with seaweedPhoto credit: Getty
Posidonia is protected in some parts of Alicante


Posidonia is protected in some parts of AlicantePhoto credit: Getty

However, they recommend that local governments avoid removing them if possible, as it is all part of marine life and conservation and the fight against climate change.

The so-called ‘posidonia’ or ‘seaweed’ on Spanish beaches is already being protected in parts of Alicante, where the local authority issued an order yesterday to protect it at all costs.

And other resorts across Spain are considering delaying the removal of miles of mud, although beachgoers will have to wade through the mud to get to the sea.

The Spanish Institute of Coastal Ecology recommends postponing the removal of Posidonia until the beginning of the high season, and only then on the busiest beaches.

Valencia City Council has had to remove some of the seaweed on busy beaches due to the very hot weather, but has put in place conservation measures that many tourists will not be happy with.

The Coastal Ecology Institute says: “Algae and marine plant residues play important ecological roles in coastal ecosystems, particularly in the sediment budget of beaches and bays.

“This role is clearly stated in the criteria by which beaches can be awarded Blue Flag status, which states that it is essential not to collect algae and plant debris unless the level of accumulation and state of deterioration is obviously objectionable and unhealthy. This recognizes that seaweed and plant debris are natural components of the marine ecosystem.”

“Coastal areas should be viewed as a place for nature and habitat, not just a ‘asset’ in the local leisure industry that just needs to be kept clean.

“It is important to inform or remind users and tourists that algae and plant debris are naturally deposited on the sand by currents and waves.”

It proposes that algae be safely removed and “used in a manner that precludes their transport to landfill.”

Scientific director Gabriel Soler said that when companies were brought in to clean up the algae, 80 percent of the “cleaned up” matter was actually sand, which therefore contributed to beach erosion.

Alicante City Council is already running an awareness campaign with beach information panels to “try to change the perception that citizens usually have of this type of cumulus on the shores of our coves and beaches”.

Mónica Oltra, Vice President and spokeswoman for the Valencia City Council, confirmed that they have approved a decree to preserve the Posidonia Marina meadows in the Valencian Community.

The aim is to “protect the seagrass beds and prevent their decline, which is mainly caused by pollution, trawling, coastal infrastructure works, aggregate mining and anchoring of boats”.

“At the same time, protective measures are being taken both in the meadows themselves and in the adjacent underwater and surfaced beach and associated dune ecosystems.”

Posidonia, protected by European law, occupies more than 30,000 hectares in the Valencian Community.

Monica Oltra said the decree approved on Friday “answers the need to protect these ecosystems due to their great ecological richness, since they are inhabited by more than 400 species of plants and 1,000 animals, many of them of commercial interest and some of serious interest threatened.”

Despite the warnings, holidaymakers in different parts of Spain are already complaining about the “chaos” on the beaches.

In Platja d’en Bossa, Ibiza, after heavy spring storms, there are still huge mounds of posidonia on the beach, and tourists say there isn’t enough space to put down their towels.

“We used to have up to four rows of hammocks, but now there’s not even a beach,” said an angry businessman.

Ibiza residents have also complained on social media, posting: “Posidonia decomposes organic matter, accumulating it on urban tourist beaches is a health risk. It smells rotten.”

Other regions of Spain are still working to clean up tons of seaweed washed up by the storms.

Tourist beaches in France had already been flooded with toxic slime in 2019.

The green algae releases toxic gases when stepped on, and experts say it can kill sunbathers in seconds.

At the time, it was claimed that the toxic emissions near Saint-Brieuc in Brittany were due to excess fertilizer leaking into the sea from nearby fields.

Environmentalists say algae should be safely removed


Environmentalists say algae should be safely removedPhoto credit: Getty

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