the mayor of Estepona, José María García Urbano, has once again requested this Wednesday from the central government a national aid plan to the coastal municipalities affected by the asian algae invasion Rugulopterix okamurae, whose withdrawal supposes an additional cost of one million for the municipal coffers.
The councilor has indicated that does not understand the reasons why the Executive is not acting faced with a problem that is damaging a large part of the Spanish coastline.
“The proliferation of This alga has a negative impact on both the tourism sector as in fishing, so the central government should have an immediate plan to deal with this problem, “said the mayor.
García Urbano lamented that the summer is advancing and the municipalities only have their own resources to alleviate the effects of this environmental problem. Thus, he pointed out that the Consistory has extracted and removed from the beaches of Estepona 5,120 tons of algae from mid-March.
These tasks suppose, in addition to an important organizing and cleaning efforta extra cost of one million euros for the municipal coffers, since an additional economic item has had to be allocated for the removal of the 25 or 30 tons of algae that are dragged daily to the coast.
In addition, at the end of July the City Council acquired new machinery for this purposewhich has meant a investment of more than 263,000 euros.
In this way, they were added to the existing material means six buckets, two trailers and a backhoe that speeds up the removal of waste from the beach, shortening the journeys to be made by the cleaning machines and increasing the efficiency of the process.
Also purchased a machine specialized in the collection and separation of sand of this type of waste and hired machinery and trucks to speed up the withdrawal and its transport to landfill.
On the other hand, remember that, at the request of the mayor and Vice President of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP), this agency also urged the central government last month to implement a national aid plan to the coastal municipalities affected by the invasion of the Asian algae.
Several coastal municipalities have joined the request of the Estepona councilor as Marbella, Casares, Manilva, Mijas or Benalmadenawhich suffer a greater presence of this alga by having rocky surfaces on its shoresso the presence of Asian algae is greater as it grows on the rocks and is subsequently dragged by the tides until it colonizes others, as explained in July by the director of the Costa del Sol Coastal Sciences Chair at the University of Malaga (UMA), Francisco Ignacio Franco.
The expansion of this alga -registered in the ‘Spanish Catalog of Invasive Exotic Species’ of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge since 2020-, already extends from the waters of Ceuta and the Strait of Gibraltar to the Granada and Almeria coastsas the expert explained at the time, which is creating difficulties for local administrations for its removal and treatment, more in touristic destinations like the various cities of the Costa del Sol.
In the case of Marbella, the coasts suffer from the presence of the invasive algae since Easter, removing in June “30,000 tons, almost 15,000 in July and about 5,000 in May”, according to the person in charge of Playas, Victoria Martín Lomeña, who explained that “every year is close to 400,000 euros for landfill fees”.
In Mijas, the Consistory has implemented a ‘shock plan’ to prevent the proliferation of this vegetable invader and during the month June “2,200 tons have been withdrawn, which has meant a cost of 115,000 euros”, detailed the councilor of the branch, José Carlos Martín; while Casares registers since April the departure of “more than 80 trucks, at an average of 14,000 kilos” for each.