Environmentalists decry indiscriminate bleaching of Zahara de los Atunes beach

by Muizat Hameed
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An environmentalist group headed by Maria Dolores Iglesias has frowned at the brutal effect of the bleach used as disinfectant on the beach at Zahara de los Atunes.

The disinfection, which became necessary because of the lockdown ease, has caused lots of damage, including death of birds and insects.

María Dolores Iglesias who said she had visited the beach at Zahara de los Atunes and seen the damage stated that “The bleach killed everything on the ground, nothing is seen, not even insects.

“The beach and its dunes are protected breeding and nesting places for migratory birds,”

Ms Iglesias said she had seen at least one nest with eggs destroyed by the tractors.

“Bleach is used as a very powerful disinfectant. It is logical that it be used to disinfect streets and asphalt, but here the damage has been brutal,” she said

“They have devastated the dune spaces and gone against all the rules. It has been an aberration what they have done, also taking into account that the virus lives in people not on the beach. It is crazy,” she lamented.

Ms Iglesias said that because of the lockdown, wildlife had been thriving on the beach.

“The beach has its own way of cleaning itself; it was not necessary.

“They do not think that this is a living ecosystem, but a lot of land,” she said.

Local official Agustín Conejo has however admitted it was “a wrong move”.

“I admit that it was a mistake, it was done with the best intention,” he said.

Zahara de los Atunes, near Cadiz, used tractors to spray more than 2km (1.2 miles) of beach with a bleach solution a day before Spain allowed children out of lockdown for the first time.

Mr Conejo said they had wanted to protect children who were coming to see the sea after six weeks in confinement.

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