An official in southern Spain has apologised for spraying the local beach with diluted bleach in an attempt to protect residents from Covid-19.
The picturesque fishing village of Zahara de los Atunes sent tractors equipped with sprayers along part of its beach last week as officials readied for the release of the country’s children after six weeks of confinement.
The decision to disinfect the beach has incensed environmentalists. “It’s totally absurd,” said María Dolores Iglesias Benítez. “The beach is a living ecosystem. And when you spray it down with bleach, you’re killing everything you come across.”
“Fumigating beaches with bleach in the middle of bird-breeding season or during the development of the invertebrate network that will support coastal fishing … is not one of [Donald] Trump’s ideas. It is happening in Zahara de los Atunes,” Greenpeace Spain wrote on Twitter, in reference to the US president’s recent musing on whether the injection of cleaning products could combat Covid-19.
One municipal official, Agustín Conejo, said his actions had been motivated solely by a desire to protect children. “I recognise it was an error,” he told the broadcaster Canal Sur. “But it was done with the best of intentions.”