The disappearing beach

Coastal erosion

Coastal erosion Photo: pxhere CC

Climate change has eaten away 45 metres of coastline weakened by construction in the last five years.

The Arraijanal-San Julián coast between Torremolinos and Málaga is to be declared in “serious regression”: it has receded by up to 45 metres between 2016 and 2022 or five to seven metres every year.

This small stretch of the Costa del Sol is illustrating how climate change is having a severe impact on the coastline that has been made vulnerable by human action. Urban development paved the way and now that storms in this area have quadrupled, this portion of the coastline has already lost more than 200,000 square metres of beach, according to the coastal regression report by the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

The report lists: the construction of marinas, housing developments, golf courses, the channelling, burying and even diversion of river beds, as laying the ground work for erosion to happen

Almost all of the above is represented in the specific case of Arraijanal. The Guadalmar urbanisation, the Malaga Parador, the Parador golf course, beach bars and a sewage treatment plant that is already affected “almost completely and continuously by the waves” have been concentrated there.

Rise in sea levels

“It was wrong from the beginning to build a housing development so close to the beach. And now there is a very high density of housing, but against nature because, in the end, the houses are going to form an island in the sea,” says Rafael Yus of Ecologistas en Acción from Málaga.

The analysis of the Directorate of the Coast and Sea points out that the coastline is now being impacted by the consequences of climate change, which entails “an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme events and a rise in sea levels”.

The receding coastline – which means the effective loss of beach area – is a problem for much of the Spanish coastline. And its patching up takes tens of millions of euros in multiple operations to bring in sand every year, above all to fill in these beaches for the summer tourist seasons. Sand that is then eaten up again by the sea and storms on the vulnerable coast.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.


    • Bob Scratchit

      10 June 2024 • 12:29

      Even a small amount of proper research shows climate change, as its being portrayed by legacy fake media, does not exist. Geoengineering very much does exist, and its white labelled as climate change.

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