Demonstrations of coastal residents in Spain against the disappearance of beaches

by Lorraine Williamson
coastal residents

MURCIA – A shortage of sand, rising sea levels and increasingly severe weather that ‘eats’ the beaches and ‘grabs’ property and land. Those cases are a thorn in the side of coastal residents of regions in southeastern Spain.

Through 32 associations of beaches and coastal municipalities in the region of Valencia, Murcia and the province of Almería, they are calling on the authorities to restore the beaches and radically change the coastal law. To this end, a large demonstration of coastal residents will be organised on the beaches on Saturday August 6. Moreover, it is hoped to gather enough people to fill the beaches. Under the slogan “We are Mediterrania, for the regeneration of the beaches”, two petitions are handed over to the Ministry of Ecological Transition. 

The problem of coastal erosion 

The intention is for Mediterranea’s spokespersons to read a statement containing questions to the Minister of Ecological Transition. The aim is to initiate a dialogue about the problem of erosion. Therefore, Government and civil society should participate in that dialogue. Together they must enable a change in planning for coastal protection and regeneration. Also, those who are the partial cause of that erosion must take responsibility. 

Causes of coastal erosion on Spanish beaches? 

“For thousands of years, coastal sand remained stable until the massive construction of harbours and dams in rivers,” explains Mediterranea. “Infrastructures designed for the common good and generating wealth. However, as they operate, they retain billions of cubic metres of sand in their breakwaters and dams. Sand that used to end up on our beaches and kept them stable without erosion.” 

nederlandse orthopeed

Climate change as a new factor 

The group points out that we must not forget that climate change is a new factor that must be taken into account. According to UN experts’ estimates, this is expected to increase the effects of erosion on the coast. 

Responsibility 

Current and previous governments are accused of having “never” claimed responsibility from ports and dams for the damage caused by sediment retention while carrying out their activities. 

The marine and terrestrial ecosystems have been artificially damaged. As a result, the sea is increasingly flooding the beaches, dune ridges, coastal towns and salt lakes uncontrollably. “If we do nothing now, we will soon lose our values ​​and identity as coastal people”. The sea confiscates property and land without compensation. 

Don’t look the other way 

The problem needs to be addressed, rather than authorities systematically looking the other way. The proposal is for civil society to participate in decision-making through sensible dialogue with the government. In addition, the coastal law must be radically amended. Furthermore, this has already been proposed by the European Parliament and the Council of State. 

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