AN ‘irresponsible’ beach party is set to see the release of hundreds of ‘illegal’ Chinese lanterns, despite a clear fire risk, claim campaigners.
The Sabinillas Full Moon party will see the launch of the candle-lit lanterns at midnight, watched by an estimated 5,000 revellers.
However opponents have criticised Manilva Town Hall for not banning the release, with the coast on high fire alert after an extremely dry Spring.
It comes after the coast saw three infernos last week – with Competa, Casares and Torremolinos all experiencing serious fires.
At the weekend, more than 1,200 guests also had to be evacuated from el Club La Costa, in Mijas.
The Costa del Sol firewatch group has slammed the event, while local bookshop Sabinillas bookshop has withdrawn the lanterns from sale.
Manilva Town Hall however insisted the free event will go ahead on July 12 as planned.
Local magazine The News Monthly Review was the target of furious online abuse after supporting the event and advertising where to buy ‘eco-friendly’ lanterns.
“What is eco-friendly about them when they can wipe out hectares of land, kill and maim untold numbers of animals and birds in a very short space of time?” raged expat Stephanie Parsons.
The lanterns are banned from sale in Spain under the Dangerous Goods Act. It is also illegal to set them off under the Prevention of Forest Fire law.
A Manilva council spokesperson told the Olive Press: “The use of Chinese lanterns poses no fire hazard.
“We can’t predict at this time what the wind will do that night, but what is clear is that nothing will be done that could be considered a fire hazard.”
Ironically the event – which attracts some 5,000 visitors – is organised by the tourist office whose chief is also in charge of the environment department.