Environmental Impacts of Tourism on Spain
WWF identified the Mediterranean as the region with unique biodiversity features and a leading tourist destination. Spain, in particular, is one of the most attractive places for tourists, who mostly flock to the coasts. Tourism boom in the Mediterranean has resulted in the disruption of the coastal and marine environment, loss of habitats, contamination of drinking water and other horrible changes.
The Spanish coastline has been dramatically altered due to high hotels, airports, roads and other facilities that are being built instead of small fishing villages. As a result of urbanization, Mediterranean coastal ecosystems were affected in such a way that three quarters of sand dunes of the coastline disappeared.
Nevertheless, there are special guidelines introduced by the EU to keep the beaches clean, untreated sewage used to be pumped into the sea and caused pollution. Fragile coastal and marine areas of an outstanding natural value are being damaged, since mass tourism leads to unforeseen outcomes.
Soil erosion, damaged landscapes and waste are only some of the consequences of the dramatic tourism development in the region. The Mediterranean used to be a cradle of endangered species that live only here; now a lot of rare animals are being threatened with extinction.
Moreover, the demand for fresh water in summer months outstrips supply; water is mostly used at hotels, golf courses, swimming pools and other tourist facilities. In hot months local infrastructure cannot manage to clean the amount of urban and industrial wastewater and solid waste. Consequently, the quality of drinking water is deteriorating.
Pollution of the environment is likely to result in higher average temperatures, ruined ecosystems, reduction of water resources, ruining of beaches and rise of sea level. Thus, current tourism development patterns in Spain, and the Mediterranean as a whole, contribute to atmosphere, land, water, waste and other forms of pollution, degradation and destruction of natural areas and extinction of rare species.
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