Tourists told don't swim at almost 50 Spain beaches over sewage & chemical leaks (2024)

Tourists told don't swim at almost 50 Spain beaches over sewage & chemical leaks (1)
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Scroll down to see an interactive map of all the affected beaches

  • Natalia Penza
  • Natalia Penza

BRITISH holidaymakers have been warned about visiting nearly 50 ‘black flag’ beaches in Spain.

A Spanish environmental campaign group has named and shamed seaside spots with problems, including chemical pollution, marine waste, over-development and sewage discharges.




Talamanca Beach in Ibiza features on the list, which has been compiled by Ecologists in Action, after being singled out over the catastrophic damage done to underwater plants by boats anchoring illegally off the coast.

A treatment plant pumping salty wastewater into the sea is another issue for people to consider when heading to the popular beach destination.

El Amerador Beach in El Campello just north of Alicante has been given one of Ecologists in Action’s 48 black flags as well.

Disease-causing fecal pollution at the beach earned it the shameful marker, which was blamed on a nearby poorly-maintained pumping station.

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The organisation highlighted two recent instances of human waste entering the sea at the Costa Blanca beach, one in March and one in April.

The Canary Islands, where thousands of locals took to the streets in April in an anti-mass tourism protest to highlight problems including ocean pollution, also got a drubbing in the report.

A spokesman for Ecologists in Action, a grassroots confederation of 300 ecological groups, said: “One of the biggest problems we are facing is the ‘touristification’ and urbanisation of our coast and this is a problem that especially affects the Canary Islands.”

Claiming its political leaders were prioritising business interests in a “suicidal race” and boasting about record tourism when its local population were suffering record poverty and unemployment, the organisation added: “The ecological footprint of the Canary Islands corresponds to that of a territory 27 times larger.

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“In other words we need a territory 27 times larger to satisfy all the demands of the economic model and development of the archipelago.”

In a horror description of the situation on the most popular of the eight islands with British holidaymakers, the group claimed: “In Tenerife 57 million litres of wastewater are discharged directly into the sea every day, equivalent to 17 Olympics swimming pools of polluted water.

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“The problem extends to all eight Canary Islands.

“Underwater outlets are discharging 24/7 365 days a year in all the islands’ archipelago.

“More than 90 per cent of the wastewater from urban, industrial and agricultural centres reaches the sea practically without treatment."

The popular Playa Blanca beach in Lanzarote also received one of the group’s black flags this year.

The 48 Spanish beaches issued black flags in 2024

Here's a list of all the beaches in Spain to have been issued a black flag

  1. La Farella, Girona, Catalonia
  2. Various beaches on the Costa Brava, Girona, Catalonia
  3. Comarca del Maresme, Barcelona, Catalonia
  4. Sant Adrià del Besò, Barcelona, Catalonia
  5. Camino de Ronda, Tarragona, Catalonia
  6. Playa de la Pineda, Costa Dorada, Tarragona, Catalonia
  7. Playa de L'Estany-Capicorb, Castellon, Valencia region
  8. Playa de Burriana, Castellon, Valencia region
  9. Beaches at the Parque Natural de l'Albufera, Valencia, Valencia region
  10. Puerto de Valencia, Valencia, Valencia region
  11. Barranco y playa del Amerador, Alacant, Valencia region
  12. Playas de Cap l'horta, Albufera, Postiguet and San Gabriel, Alacant, Valencia region
  13. Mar Menor, Murcia region
  14. Portman Bay and Sierra Minera, Murcia region
  15. Playa Quitapellejos-Palomares, Almeria, Andalucia
  16. Playa de 'El Lancón' en Carboneras, Almeria, Andalucia
  17. Playa de Castell de Ferro, Granada, Andalucia
  18. Playa Granada y Poniente, Granada, Andalucia
  19. Playas de Malaga, Malaga, Andalucia
  20. Coast of Malaga, Malaga, Andalucia
  21. Tarifa, Cadiz, Andalucia
  22. Costa de Trafalgar, Cadiz, Andalucia
  23. Huelva river, Huelva, Andalucia
  24. El Portil, Huelva, Andalucia
  25. Aldán river, Concello de Cangas, Pontevedra, Galicia
  26. Arousa river and Pontevedra river, Pontevedra, Galicia
  27. Minera de Galicia, A Coruna, Galicia
  28. Pereiro river and Ramisqueira river, A Coruna, Galicia
  29. Alcoa pond, Lugo, Galicia
  30. Galician coast, Lugo, Galicia
  31. Port of Figueres, Asturies
  32. Villaviciosa, Asturies
  33. Playa de Usgo, Cantabria
  34. San Román de la Llanilla, Cantabria
  35. Lamiako marsh area, Bizkaia, Basque Country
  36. Gernika and Murueta, Bizkaia, Basque Country
  37. Santa Clara Island, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country
  38. La Concha Island, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country
  39. Cala Xarraca, Ibiza, Balearic Islands
  40. Playa de Talamanca, Ibiza, Balearic Islands
  41. Port of Melilla, Melilla
  42. Melilla Bay, Melilla
  43. Monte Hacho, Ceuta
  44. Playa de Desnarigado, Ceuta
  45. Playa Blanca, Las Palmas, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
  46. Corralejo Dunes, Las Palmas, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
  47. La Tejita Beach (Granadilla), Puertito de Armeñime (Adeje), Tenerife, Canary Islands
  48. Northwest coastline of Tenerife, Canary Islands

That's down to a sewage spill caused by a pumping station fault which led to the beach's temporary closure in May.

Ecologists in Action warned that last month’s drama was not the first and described it as “common”, saying pumping treatment managers had blamed the problem on people flushing wet wipes and nappies down the toilet instead of putting them in the bin.

Meanwhile, pellets identified as dangerous to marine and human life have been flagged up as a problem on the Costa Dorada in Tarragona, which includes resorts like Salou.

Further north on the Costa Brava private boats have been blamed for damaging marine biodiversity.


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Tourists told don't swim at almost 50 Spain beaches over sewage & chemical leaks (12)
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Meanwhile, this is where to find the cleanest beaches in Europe this summer.

And there are 81 Blue Flag beaches in this Spanish region.



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Tourists told don't swim at almost 50 Spain beaches over sewage & chemical leaks (2024)


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