Spain boasts some of the best beaches in Europe with the cleanest playas awarded blue flags for their clear waters and pristine stretches of sand.
But a black flag system is in place to earmark those beaches which fall short of standards and this year 48 beaches have been identified as being polluted across Spain, with 10 in Andalucia alone.
Ecologistas en accion undertakes a yearly review of the health of Spain’s 8000km coastline, awarding black flags to beaches at a rate of two per coastal province.
Beaches are given a black mark for problems including water pollution, mismanagement of urban planning, industrial mismanagement and erosion.
Andalucia, which has five coastal provinces, has been awarded 2 black flags per province, issued for reasons ranging from pollution and beaches with ‘mismanaged’ chiringuitos, to seas that have been overexploited.
In Almeria, the Natura 2000 protected marine areas of Islote de San Andrés, Cabo de Gata-Níjar, Roquetas de Mar, and Punta Entinas-Sabinar were awarded a black flag for mismanagement, due to the high incidence of illegal fishing.
“We have only selected the very worst abuses and there should be a lot more,” said spokesman Clara Mejias.
The biggest problem in Spain is with wastewater discharges and poor purification, which accounts for 31% of black flag cases.
Breakdown of Black Flags in Andalucia:
Ria de Huelva
EDAR Playa de El Carmen de Barbete
Playa de Los Lances en Tarifa
Contaminated areas: Maro-La Cascada Cliffs, Burriana Beach, Calahonda Beach, Torrecilla Beach and Chucho-Chillar Beach
Playas de Málaga Playa de La Malagueta: Chiringuito El Cachalote.
Playa de La Malagueta: Chiringuito Oasis Playa
Playa de la Malagueta: Chiringuito Picasso
Playa de la Malagueta: Chiringuito Mediterráneo
Playa de El Morche: Chiringuito Paco
Playa de Liendres: Chiringuito Cordón Verde Litoral
Playa Calahonda: Chiringuito; La Luna Beach
Playa del Cable: Chiringuitos; Villapadierna
Playa del Realejo: Chiringuito Realejo
Playa Guadalmina: Chiringuito Seabeach Ventura
Playa de las chapas: Chiringuito, OMARAJOR
Playa Guadalmansa: Chiringuitos IKOS (Estepona)
Playa de Poniente de Motril
Cliffs and protected areas between Almuñecar and Salobreña
Sewage Discharge between the Port of Aguadulce and the Port of Roquetas de Sea
Illegal fishing in Natura 2000 Protected areas: Islote de San Andrés, Cabo de Gata-Níjar, Roquetas de Mar, and Punta Entinas-Sabinar
- Spain’s Andalucia achieves all-time record for number of blue flags awarded this year
- Valencia’s municipality with the most – Orihuela collects 13 Blue Flags for its beaches on Spain’s Costa Blanca
- Two black flags awarded over pollution and building plans which ‘threaten’ the Costa Blanca environment in Spain