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Spain rapidly destroying its coastlines-Greenpeace

Written by: Staff

MADRID, July 5 (Reuters) Holiday homes, hotels and golf courses mushrooming on Spain's coasts are rapidly destroying ecosystems the country relies on for tourism and fishing, according to a report by environmental group Greenpeace.

Poor planning and local corruption are turning Spain's Mediterranean coastline into a deep swathe of urban development that is polluting beaches and poisoning the sea, the group said in the 73-page report published on Tuesday.

Uncontrolled development is spreading to the coasts of Murcia and Galicia and Greenpeace appealed to Spain's government and political parties to do more to protect one of the country's greatest natural resources.

''Efforts to introduce some good sense in the irrationality which has developed on the coast are scarce and quickly neutralised by large economic pressures,'' Greenpeace said in the report.

Spain's decade-long property boom has exhausted land in many locations and created a coastal strip with hundreds of kilometres of highways to connect sprawling urban developments with beaches and towns.

Local government scandals this year in the towns of Marbella and Alicante have highlighted embezzlement, kick-backs and influence peddling in Spain's coastal property boom.

Greenpeace said rapid development of Spain's holiday home market may do long-term damage to the country's tourism industry, which accounts for around 6 percent of the economy.

Pollution of Spanish coasts over the last 13 years has led the country to close 14 percent of swimming areas.

Reuters SK VV0912

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