09/07/2012 Lanzarote (BG) - Lanzarote is, without doubt, a destination primarily famous for its year round sunny climate and sandy beaches. However, only five beaches on the island now fly a blue flag, awarded by the European Foundation of Environmental Education in recognition of water quality and additional services. The five beaches are shared between just two municipalities, Yaiza and Tías, two of the main tourist areas on the island. All the municipalities of Lanzarote, with the exception of Tinajo, have at one time or another possessed a blue flag though.
Arrecife, for example, is one of the municipalities that once flew a blue flag on its el Reducto beach, but unfortunately lost the right to do so in 2002 according to the City Council. Arrecife Councilman for the Environment, Juan Rafael González, claims not to know why the beach lost its blue flag but recalls problems the beach had regarding the discharge of polluted substances in the area.
“We had a problem of illegal discharges, the most recent of which have been detected in January of this year” claimed González. In addition to the discharge problem González also claimed El Reducto needs investment. He later added that “the beach needs showers and changing rooms” but regardless of whether or not it achieves the flag “the important thing is to have the beaches in good condition”.
The municipality of Teguise will also work to restore blue flags to its beaches, particularly focusing its efforts on Las Cucharas and Bastian, beaches that have previously flown the blue flag but lost it due to construction taking place on the seafront. Teguise Councilwoman for the Environment Isabel Martín revealed: “It is now a priority because work is no longer taking place and the area is a hallmark of quality and comfort for tourists”. Martín claimed it was the municipalities’ intention to apply for the flag this year but the facilities were not in place by the deadline last February as work was still in progress on bathrooms and signage at the beach
In San Bartolomé, the beach of Guacimeta had a blue flag during the years 2005, 2006 and 2007. According to the Councilman for Beaches of the municipality, Antonio Rocío, the beach will once again be eligible to apply for a blue flag “pending the outcome of issues of rainwater”. It is expected work to resolve the issue will be completed at the end of this year or early next year.
The beach of La Garita, Arrieta in the municipality of Haría, also obtained a blue flag for several years, the last of which was 2006. The mayor of the municipality José Torres Stinga, revealed: “that many years ago La Garita was a blue flag beach, but then conditions and requirements changed and it is now impossible for us to assume the cost of the requirements”.
The mayor claimed he does not recall exactly what was required in the past but insists now that the requirement of permanent monitoring, disability services and a health care station among other issues are impossible for them to meet. “20,000 things, it’s impossible” he said, “Nowadays it’s survive, survive, survive”. He went on to reveal that importantly, from an environmental point of view, there are no problems it is only the matter of providing resources throughout the year that makes it impossible for the beach to meet requirements.