Madrid: Environmental protection group Greenpeace criticised on Friday the rapid building over of the Spanish coast, publishing pictures of former fishing villages swallowed up by urban encroachment.
Between 1987 and 2005, more than 50,000 hectares (123,550 acres) of natural coastline had been given over to urban or commercial use and this "destruction" was continuing at a pace of 7.7 hectares a day, it said in a new report.
Spain`s economic crisis had seen no let up in the construction, Greenpeace Spain president Juan Lopez de Uralde said, adding: "The most serious is that this trend is continuing."
The report was accompanied by photographs of the "massive" urbanisation of areas like Marbella in the south and Benidorm in the east, and old black and white pictures of them as small fishing villages.
Greenpeace said this phenomenon was particularly noticeable over the past decade in Andalucia in the south, Valencia in the east and in Cantabria in the north, and had seen areas once relatively far apart become joined together.
The future looked dark because coastal municipalities were still planning to build more housing, hotels and marinas, said Greenpeace, adding "the real luxury is not a five star hotel but an unspoilt beach”.
The group also noted that the enormous El Algarrobico hotel built illegally in 2005 and 2006 in a protected park in Cabo de Gata in the south was still standing despite a legal order for its demolition.
Greenpeace demanded the application and reinforcement of laws protecting the Spanish coast, adding that its building over was leading to a serious degradation of the quality of the water in affected regions.