LifestyleBarcelona's beach crisis: Disappearing sand threatens tourist hotspots

Barcelona's beach crisis: Disappearing sand threatens tourist hotspots

Bird's eye view of the beach in Barcelona.
Bird's eye view of the beach in Barcelona.
Images source: © Adobe Stock
ed. NGU
12:07 PM EST, November 28, 2023

Barcelona, one of the most visited tourist cities in Spain, is battling a significant issue. Notably, the sand on the city's beaches is disappearing at a worrying pace. The problem was further exacerbated by a hurricane in November.

Not just the famous Sagrada Família and Camp Nou stadium, but Barcelona's sandy beaches also attract tourists. Regrettably, issues related to the disappearance of sand along the shoreline are on the rise. Various factors including strong winds are contributing to this gradual reduction.

Barcelona faces difficulties

About 159,000 cubic yards of sand have been lost from the city's beaches over the past 13 years. Patricia Giménez, the director of the Barcelona Ciclo del Agua beach, compared the situation to four of the city's beaches disappearing. Hurricane Ciaran, which swept across Europe in early November, including Spain, exacerbated the situation. "Ciaran stripped tons of sand from Nova Mar Bella beach," reported the Spanish newspaper "El Pais". Another significant factor for the sand's disappearance is it being washed away by the sea.

The last time Barcelona's beaches were replenished with sand was in 2010. At that time, as much as 872,642 cubic yards were spread.

Shortage of sand

The issue is critical because procuring new sand swiftly is not feasible. As per the announcements of Spanish municipalities, the subsequent delivery is not anticipated before 2025. The Barcelona council spokesperson quoted in "El Pais" suggests that a tender for a sand supplier is expected only then.

The issue isn't confined to the most popular beaches in Catalonia's capital. Early this month, Badalona's mayor, Xavier García Albiol, wrote a letter to the Minister for Ecological Transformation, Teresa Ribera, informing her about the dire situation of the city's sandy beaches.

A similar dilemma has arisen in the municipality of Gavà, Barcelona. Here, the director for climate change, Mireia Boya, has expressed her opposition to supplying sand. She believes it to be a waste of money.

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