A report produced by the ecological activist group, Greenpeace, under the title of Coastal Destruction 2004, cites the Balearic Islands as one of the five regions of Spain which show the least respect for their coastlines.
The organisation goes on to quote other aspects of the Islands as being evidence of environmental negligence. These have been listed amongst 50 black spots which Greenpeace has condemned along the Spanish coastline.
The organisation points a damning finger at the Ciudadela port extensions on Minorca; a reduction of 92.7 percent in the extent of the Llevant natural parkland following a change in legislation regarding publicly owned land; and alterations made to statutes governing use of Island territory to make way for a housing estate on an important sand dune area in Campos on Majorca.
The ecologists also give the thumbs down signal to the sewage treatment plant outside Ibiza town, the effluent from which flows out onto a meadow of Neptune grass which is receding due to contamination; and to the marina development in San Antonia, also on Ibiza.
These black spots figure between points 23 and 27 on Greenpeace's total list of 50 along the Spanish coastline. Other regions denounced in the report as giving scant respect to their coastlines are Murcia, Valencia, the Canary Islands and Galicia.
The organisation asserts that no region has its coastline well managed and cared for, but singles out the negligence on the Balearics as being the result of decades of badly planned tourist development. Greenpeace claims that such disregard for the environment has led to serious problems of urban saturation, contamination, destruction of natural areas and coastal erosion. A large part of the Balearic coast has had to knuckle under the pressures placed on it by the sun, sea and sand ethos, say the ecologists, who add that the bill for coastal neglect is now being passed on to the Islands by the very tourist industry they sought to woo. The organisation was making reference to the fact that for three years now, there has been an ongoing decline in the occupancy levels at holiday-makers' establishments, in spite of the increase in the number of tourists.
Greenpeace said that the change of government in the Balearics, with the arrival of the new leader, Jaume Matas, has dealt a heavy blow to the coastline in terms of its conservation.