ASH from a wildfire raging in the Sierra Bermeja is polluting the sea along the Costa del Sol posing a threat to marine life, experts have warned.

Bathers along the coast from Marbella to Manilva will have noticed the suspension of ash in the clear waters of the Mediterranean as firefighters battle to contain the blaze which had, by Monday morning, destroyed more than 7,000 hectares.

Now environmental experts have warned that the impact from the fire will affect more than the wooded hills it is scorching. 

Francisco Franco, the director of Malaga’s Coastal Sciences Department, explained that accumulation of ash will have a notable impact on nutrient levels of nutrients in the sea, affecting the biodiversity of the coastline and likely cause cyanobacteria to flourish.

“Small chemical changes may occur in the environment in which they accumulate and cause the appearance of microalgae and cyanobacteria,” says Franco. 

A large cyanobacterial bloom could affect zooplankton and molluscs, which feed by filtering the seawater, and if the situation worsens, it could even endanger marine life.

Spanish meteorologist Juan Antonio Salado highlighted the situation with a video of the black sludge washing ashore near Marbella.

The mixture of water, mud and ash contaminates rivers, aquifers, reservoirs and the sea in the aftermath of forest fire. 

“If the ash-laden rains are torrential, they will cause immediate water pollution,” warned Jose Ramon Gonzalez of the Association of Forestry Engineers.

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