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Blue flag for 30 beaches damaged by Prestige

2 June 2004

MADRID – Thirty Spanish beaches affected by oil dumped into the sea after the Prestige disaster now have blue-flag status, according to a report released Wednesday.

The Association of Environmental Education and for the Consumer (ADEAC) granted this status to beaches in Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country that had been polluted by the environmental crisis.

The Prestige sank in November 2002 near the port of La Coruna on the Galician coast.

The single-hulled tanker, registered in Liberia, had reported difficulties. After drifting for six days, it sank spilling 50,000 tonnes of oil into the sea.

The disaster damaged beaches across the north of Spain.

But the ADEAC granted blue-flag status –  which means it is safe to swim – to 450 beaches in Spain, including more than 30 in the area affected by the Prestige spillage.

The move comes a day after an European Commission report said water at 30 beaches and in the rivers running into them fell below health standards in Spain.

These beaches were mostly in tourist areas in Andalusia, the Balearic Islands and the Canaries.

The ADEAC report compared the state of beaches this year with 2003.

It said this summer, 24 more beaches could be used by the public in Galicia, six more in Asturias and two more in Cantabria.

One in seven beaches around Spain have been granted blue-flag status, according to the report.

The ADEAC said the beaches could be improved by less illegal parking nearby, cutting rubbish dumped on beaches and stopping dogs fouling.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news