Part of the treatment plant, which has been deemed obsolete for years. | Archive

The annual report from Ecologists in Action has highlighted 48 'black flags' in Spain for beaches which are "the most obvious cases of environmental absurdities".

Fifteen of these beaches have issues with spillage of contaminated water, and the report draws attention to two cases in Majorca. One refers to Santa Margalida beaches - Can Picafort and Son Baulo. The culprit is the treatment plant in Albufera. Dating from 1990, it doesn't conform to regulations with regard to spills in Alcudia Bay. Effluent affects the Albufera wetlands, and filtration and faults produce contamination.

The consequences are an excess of nutrients and forms of gelatinous micro-algae as well as cloudy water. When there are storms, the treatment plant does not have the capacity to deal with the rainwater, and faecal water is washed into the sea.

The second case is Camp de Mar, where the construction of a "luxury megaresort" has been awarded a black flag. It has 600 beds, thirteen pools, five restaurants and a gym. It is due to open next year and, according to Ecologists in Action, is an example of "out of control touristification" in the Balearics.