Canarian Government ditches plans to tart up rock pools after outrage over illegal spills and the beaches they close

Graphic: Adrián Flores.

Updated 15 September: Outrage over the Canarian Government’s idea of renovating coastal rock pools for sustainable “natural tourism” has been predictably widespread, and it has achieved its effect. I know many hate the actions of climate activists like XR but I’ll put below a video from James O’Brien as to how the whole difficult situation of climate protest might be seen. Meanwhile, Canarian tourism minister Yaiza Castilla has confirmed (SER radio HERE) that the ideas have been shelved specifically as a result of the high level of social protest at them. The Cabildos can consider such works in their own islands, she indicates, and presumably at their own expense, but it is no longer a project that the Government can contemplate. Climate activism in the form of social protest clearly works, however much many still complain about it, but the numbers objecting to the protests are reducing, quite evidently.

Original post 4 September: Currently, the east coast of Tenerife has significant numbers of beaches closed either because of E.coli or a spill of “piche”. I don’t know whether that’s translatable as oil or tar, but between the faecal bacteria and the pitch, beaches along the whole east coast of Tenerife from Santa Cruz to Los Abrigos have been closed. Naturally the regional media is devastated that the end of the summer has been ruined …

Unfortunately, it is the beaches that are being ruined, by constant spills. Recently the Canarian Government decided it was going to study proposals to throw money at doing up and promoting the natural sea pools around the coasts to encourage more natural and sustainable tourism. One thing the pools do actually need is big notices to warn visitors who may be unaware that a swell can wash them out to sea with ease, and that this happens all too frequently and sometimes fatally, but such advice panels would not cost the €30m allocation suggested for the “charcos”.

Instead, environmentalists say that they should put the money to better use by stopping some of the illegal spills that pump raw sewage and maritime debris into our coastal waters. Local biodiversity specialist Adrián Flores says that there is no contest between the two issues, and that illegal dumping must be fixed before such an allocation of funds for tarting up pools. The image he provides shows the points where illegal emissions are occurring right now in Tenerife. And yes, as he says, every one of those green dots is an illegal spill.

This is shameful, stupid, unsustainable, and unsurvivable. I make no apology for repeating that environmental scientists say that we are now out of time and that we need to do something urgently. They also explain that the best we can now achieve is mitigation, not wholesale recovery. We need to mitigate to survive, and the Canary Islands are a jewel in a sweet zone. They are our collapse lifeboat … we cannot and must not treat them like this.