A green patch in the sea off Salobreña beach / ideal

Green patches return to Costa Tropical beaches

Residents fear they could be toxic and have called for the water to be analysed, but biologists at Almuñécar town hall’s environment department claim they are the remains of algae

PILAR GARCÍA-TREVIJANO

For the last five years green patches have been appearing in the sea off Salobreña. However, this year they appear to be back with a vengeance and not only in Salobreña; they have also been spotted this week off Playa de la Guardia, Motril, Torrenueva and Almuñécar.

Bathers are worried that the patches could be toxic and are calling on the town halls to analyse them, but municipal biologists claim that they are probably the remains of algae and other marine microorganisms.

Carolina, who has spent "almost all her life" holidaying in Salobreña, said that she got up early on Monday (25 July) to swim, precisely because the water is not usually cloudy at this time of day, but from her balcony she could already see that the green “bland blob” that she’d seen on Sunday afternoon had extended along “the whole shoreline”.

An eyesore

She said, "There is no way to get around it and few dare to go into the water. It occupies practically the whole beach. It's a real eyesore." Carolina went on to say, "From the start of summer the water gets cloudy from midday onwards, but this is something else. We don't know if it's harmful to bathers. At other times it's clear that it's sewage, but now it's not clear.”

Other residents have also reported the presence of the green patches to the various councils' environmental departments and another resident contacted Granada province’s IDEAL newspaper to report the problem. "Nobody can tell us if it is toxic or what is happening, but it is getting worse every year. All the residents are very worried, they tell us that they do analyses but we never know the results", she said. In fact residents are evening considering organising a protest to demand that the town halls do something about it.

In Motril, the councillor for tourism, José Lemos, said that they have called the tourist office several times to warn bathers that the water is a "strange" green colour and that they would be contacting the Mancomunidad de Municipios - the body that oversees the Costa Tropical’s local authorities; to see if they will take samples.

The newspaper has contacted the town council and the Guardia Civil but has not yet received a response.

The green patch near the shore on Salobreña beach / ideal