Estepona City Council removes 450 tons of Asian algae from beaches so far this year

During the past year, cleaning tasks with municipal means have removed 3,415 tons from the coastline.

The Estepona City Council reports that the cleaning work being carried out by the operators of the municipal area of Beaches have allowed to remove, so far this year 2024, a total of 450 tons of Asian algae. Of that amount, 180 tons have been removed since last Friday. This is the Rugulopterix okamurae algae, an invasive species that is threatening the marine biodiversity of the entire coastline of the Costa del Sol and other parts of the Spanish coast.

The mayor of Estepona, José María García Urbano, has repeatedly asked the central government for a national plan to help the affected coastal municipalities, since the proliferation of this algae has a negative impact on both the tourism and fishing sectors and it is the municipalities that have to have their own resources to mitigate the effects of this situation. In the case of Estepona, the specific work for the collection of this algae involves an annual cost overrun of more than one million euros.

The alderman has also proposed several initiatives on this issue in the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP).

During the past year 2023 the Estepona City Council collected a total of 3,415 tons of algae, being 2022 when the highest figure was reached, with 5,331 tons that had to be removed from the beaches.

The presence of these invasive algae is not new and already in 2020 and 2021 the operators of the municipal area of Beaches cleaned 2,742 and 2,841 tons, respectively of the Estepona coastline.

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