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Asian seaweed arriving on the beach of Benalmádena Costa. LCádiz
Invasive Asian algae becomes a 'continuous' problem on Benalmádena's beaches, and this is what the town hall is doing about it
Environment

Invasive Asian algae becomes a 'continuous' problem on Benalmádena's beaches, and this is what the town hall is doing about it

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Lorena Cádiz

Monday, 29 April 2024, 09:55

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Last Wednesday morning, municipal beach cleaners were confronted once again with a huge amount of Asian seaweed, which had completely covered the beaches next to the Sunset Beach Club in Benalmádena Costa.

Invasive species

This was not a one-off event, and the town hall openly recognises that this invasive species has gone from having a "sporadic" presence on the beaches of the municipality during 2020 and 2021, to progressively increasing to the point of currently having "an almost continuous presence, having removed around 100 tonnes per month during the first three months of this year".

The figures regarding the amount of this type of seaweed removed from beaches each month from last summer until now leave no doubt about the increasing problem. According to the data provided by the town hall, in July 2023, some 25.20 tonnes of Asian seaweed were removed from the beaches of Benalmádena. On the other hand, 104.40 tonnes were collected this March. In total, from July last year until now, 399.64 tonnes have been collected.

This is a problem and above all an economic and technical challenge to keep the beaches in a perfect state of cleanliness and to ensure that the constant arrival of algae does not affect the image of the coast and therefore tourism.

Beach cleaning contract

The council explained that the beach cleaning work is carried out through an external contract with a fixed annual budget of 660,412.99 euros, which includes beach cleaning, cleaning of the promenade, toilets and lifeguard centres, and maintaining the railings and balustrades.

To this budget is added another variable annual budget of some 60,000 euros for extraordinary work. "Due to the evolution of the presence of this seaweed, which is becoming more and more continuous, the department of beaches foresaw an increase in the cost of beach cleaning and included an increase in the budget of 200,000 euros," the council said.

Shortage

Up until now, the removal of the algae has been carried out with hired machines, and in the months when there has been a greater presence, extra machinery has been hired, which has been included in the budget available for extraordinary work. But last month, with more than 100 tonnes of algae arriving on the coast of Benalmádena, an additional problem arose. Due to the fact that the presence of Asian algae is not exclusive to Benalmádena, but that many municipalities on the Costa del Sol are already suffering from this situation, there are times when there is a shortage of machinery available for hire to remove this species.

"This problem, together with the high incidence in recent months and seeing the evolution of the algae, has made us consider the acquisition of more machinery to enable us to tackle the removal of algae more quickly," councillor for beaches, Presi Aguilera, said.

The councillor went on to say that the town hall has decided to purchase one of the machines from the extra 200,000 euros of budget. The purchase of an machine, the hiring of a driver and a tractor trailer is planned "in the coming months".

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