British expats in Orihuela rush to join Storm Gloria cleanup

Published:  23 Feb at 9 AM
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British expats join in volunteer beach clean up for two weeks running.

As the world-wide call to protect the planet against its human inhabitants gathers momentum, British expats in Orihuela rushed to join in for two weeks running. The first clean-up was scheduled for Tuesday last week, but only three local government employees were scheduled for the plastic pick-up of debris washed onto the sands of Playa Flamenca resort by Storm Gloria.

Tonnes of plastic refuse including around 15,000 bottles were strewn across the beach, a depressing sight for the three council employees attempting to clear the mess. However, 50 caring expat volunteers from Britain and Ireland pitched in and made all the difference, working all day to clean the sands. A popular local English language newspaper spoke with head of Orihuela’s Department of International Residents Sonia Huertas, who said she’d been delighted by the expat turnout as it showed their commitment to keeping the environment pristine and free of plastic.

The damage caused to Spain’s pristine beaches and its coastal resorts by Storm Gloria was huge, with its first hit in Catalunya followed by Costa Brava and Costa Blanca's popular beachside towns. Torrential rain, five-metre waves and gale force winds caused devastation to over 200 resorts and killed 13 people as well as spurring ongoing debates about Spain’s coastal development policies.

The devastating effect of climate change due to global warming on the country’s coastline, popular with both tourists and expatriates, isn’t going away any time soon, if ever, and the massive cost of repairs and rebuilding needs to be set against tourism revenues and projections of even worse weather events.
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