STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE green group, Ecologists in Action, has awarded Majorca with 36 “black flags” - the most of any section of the Spanish coastline - for serious damage to various parts of the island's ecosystem.

The “black flags” represent areas of serious environmental concern (irreversible cases, serious contamination and developments that damage the environment).

The green organisation's report, “Black Flags 2008: Mortgaging the Coast”, included the expansion of the port at El Toro, the construction of a sporting and commercial centre and a golf course among its “black flags”.

The organisation's co-ordinator, Theo Oberhuber, said that the Mediterranean coast - including the Balearics, Ceuta and Melilla - was awarded 53 percent of the “black flags” and “black spots” in their report.

The green group warned that the “unsustainable” development of the last decade in terms of the development, tourism and fishing sectors had transformed the coastline and not only threatened marine biodiversity but also put in danger the sustainability of these sectors and their contribution to GDP. “We have mortgaged the coast for the coming years and we are going to suffer the consequences of this environmental degradation,” said Oberhuber who said the diagnosis for the coast was constantly getting worse.

Jorge Saez, the co-ordinator of the report, underlined the damage that had been done by the building and expansion of sporting ports, the lack of water treatment plants and the overexploitation of aquifers.

Ecologists in Action awarded 47 “black flags” to Andalusia, 36 each to the Balearics, Catalonia and the Canaries, 35 to Valencia, 32 to Murcia, 28 to Asturias, 26 to Galicia, 23 to Cantabria, 12 to the Basque Country, 4 to Ceuta and 2 to Melilla.

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