Tuesday, 30 January 2024, 18:40
An environmental campaign group based in the Axarquía, on the eastern stretch of the Costa del Sol, has for the third year running denounced what it describes as a proliferation of motorhomes in the coastal village of Maro. The group has also complained of squatters using abandoned buildings in the area.
Gabinete de Estudios de la Naturaleza de la Axarquía (GENA-Ecologistas en Acción) said in a press statement on Monday 29 January, “This year, throughout the month of January, we have been observing the gradual arrival of motorhomes that give the impression of being coordinated, colonising the protected area as if it were a winter 'Nomad Land', in some cases coming from other places, such as the Alpujarras [Granada province]. The number of motorhomes is estimated at around fifty.”
According to the spokesman for the environmental group, biologist Rafael Yus, "some campers have settled” under the pine trees in the Alberquillas area of the village, where he claims they stay “for very long periods of time". Similarly, according to GENA, "there is a community of squatters who have settled in an abandoned house also located in the Alberquillas area".
Yus went on to say, "In all these cases it is not a one-off or one-day visit, but they stay for an indefinite period of time, some for several weeks, so they are in breach of the rule of not staying overnight in the natural area". He argued that “In addition to breaching the general rule that prohibits free camping and even less so in a protected natural area, other problems are occurring".
GENA claimed that signs prohibiting overnight stays have been vandalised and that people staying in the area are “dumping of all kinds of rubbish: leftover food, wipes, toilet paper, excrement, urine, and other items, including highly polluting items such as bottles of motor oil, some of which have been opened and dumped on the ground".
The environmental group also claimed that vegetation has been trampled on which has damaging consequences to local wildlife, there have been bonfires which add to the risk of wildfires, fishing which they highlight affects sea life and as the noise caused by music and parties, which the group says also has an impact on local wildlife.
GENA has called on the Junta de Andalucía to take action and has urged the regional government to “establish an agreement with the Guardia Civil and the police, to make regular visits to the site to remove all squatters; to put back signs prohibiting overnight stays and place them in both El Cañuelo and Alberquillas; ask Nerja’s Local Police to make regular visits to the site and fine users “so that foreigners pay the fines” as well as build a barrier at the entrance to prevent access, thereby limiting an important part of the problem. "This is already being done in the Cabo de Gata natural park in Almeria," the group added.
The Junta de Andalucía's representation in Malaga has replied that "the appropriate inspections and sanctions are being carried out" and added, "It would be desirable to coordinate with other administrations, including the town hall, to find a definitive solution for the defence and protection of this natural area". SUR tried unsuccessfully to get a statement from Nerja town hall about the situation.
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