Four Orihuela Costa beaches were closed on Tuesday afternoon at Aguamarina, La Glea, Barranco Rubio and Mil Palmeras after substances thought to be part of a possible toxic spill were washed up on their shorelines.
The beaches were closed while the toxicity of the spill, which arrived on the beaches during the early afternoon, was determined.
Initial thoughts were that the substance, which was immediately sent for analysis, might be oil, but this possibility was quickly discounted as initial reports from the Seprona agents suggested that it was a claylike substance.
However, given the uncertainty and because it started raining on the sea, it was decided to raise the Red Flags on all of the beaches affected to prevent any possible contamination to bathers.
Councilor for the Coast and beaches, Martina Scheurer said that she was unable to add to the situation until such time as experts had looked at the samples. She said that the authorities had initially cordoned off the affected areas but subsequently the decision had been taken to close the beaches completely.
Residents and beachgoers immediately blamed the spill on the military Mine Detection Exercise being conducted by the Spanish Navy off the coast of the Vega Baja, many vessels of which were clearly visible from the empty beaches. This fact was confirmed by the City Council in a statement.
Bathers were first alerted to the claylike substance washed up on the sand as well as to the white impurities that were clearly visible in the water. They alerted the municipal authorities who immediately called agents from the Guardia Civil.
The councilor said that the warnings would not be removed from the beaches until such time as a full analysis of the substances had been made and found to be safe.
In a subsequent press release issued by the council later in the day they said that the discharge had been caused by one or more of the vessels of the Spanish Navy which was performing exercises just off the coastline of the Orihuela Costa.
The closure of the beaches was taken as a precaution, and that Seprona had taken a sample of the waste to carry out analysis. It continued ‘Until the results are received the beaches remain red flagged and although they are open to users, the public is advised not to enter the sea again until the green flag is flying once again’.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44915/