THE Balearic Islands have been flagged up as a key black spot for the ‘chronic cancer’ of environmental destruction.
Ecologistas en Accion has slammed the islands for the alarming ‘noise’ and ‘sea pollution’ they face as a consequence of mass tourism.
The criticism has come as part of the green group’s annual ‘Black Flags’ report, which selects the 48 worst environmental issues affecting Spain’s coastline.
The flags of shame are handed out to polluted and badly managed beaches and coastal areas across the country.
However, in the Balearics, rather than target beaches, the ecologists have flagged up two major problems that are having a detrimental environmental impact on the archipelago as a whole.
One is the ‘uncontrolled’ proliferation of jet skis, which causes noise pollution and a risk to marine wildlife.
An Ecologistas spokesman said: “There are companies that organise jet ski group trips to protected nature areas and this negatively affects vulnerable species such as sea turtles.
“These also cause huge noise pollution and a risk for swimmers, as several serious accidents have already occurred.”
The region received a second black flag for the rowdy boat parties that take place at night around the island, especially in Ses Salines.
“Locals have now complained for some time about the noise pollution caused by these boat night parties, which sometimes go on until the sunrise. These kinds of celebrations not only create several environmental issues but also a number of health problems,” the group explained.
Cristobal Lopez, Ecologistas en Accion spokesman and coordinator of the ‘Black Flags report’ told the Olive Press the Spanish coast has ‘several serious problems’ that are mainly caused by mass tourism.
“Beach destinations double their population during the holiday season and consequently, what were once unspoilt natural areas become nothing more than a lineup of hotels and holiday homes.
He insisted: “This overpopulation leads to the destruction of the coast as the collapse of water sanitation gets worse and sewage flows directly into the sea.”
The green charity also ruled that the problem is far worse than people believe and the country is now at a ‘very grave risk’.
“Politicians need to take urgent measures because they are ruining the country for future generations,” continued Lopez.
“Spain has a chronic cancer as its natural areas are so devastated and polluted that, even with technological advances and investment, it will take many years until they are fully restored,” Lopez concluded.
“We only choose 48 black spots to not overwhelm the press and population but there are literally hundreds of natural spaces that are being destroyed. We need urgent measures to tackle this.”