Posted: Nov 16, 2021 17:08 GMT
A scientific study ensures that these practices are damaging the flora and fauna of Maspalomas beach.
A recent study has pointed out a new cause for concern about tourist activity that damages natural spaces. Now, garbage and overcrowding are joined by the practice of sex as an element behind the fact that one of the most unique natural spaces on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria is losing biodiversity: Maspalomas beach.
According to the research, carried out in 2018 by a group of scientists from the Climate and Ocean Unit of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and recently published in the Journal of Environmental Management, the activities carried out at the points of sexual practices located directly impact wind landforms and in ten plant species, eight of which are autochthonous and three of which are endemic.
Under the name ‘Sand, Sun, Sea and Sex with Strangers, the ‘five S’. Characterization of the ‘cruising’ activity and its environmental impacts in a protected coastal dune field ‘, this study draws attention to an activity that is not allowed by the authorities, but that has been developing for a long time and that is a source of concern to environmental activists.
A unique place
The dunes of Maspalomas constitute a mobile ecosystem with vegetation. It is an emblematic place on the island of Gran Canaria, in the Canary archipelago off the Moroccan and Sahrawi coasts. For this reason, it is one of the main tourist attractions for a population that relies heavily on foreign visitors.
This area is a natural reserve which is under legal protection from both regional authorities and the Government of Spain.
Now, the fieldwork of this study has found that there are almost 300 sexual encounter points in the area, where damage to the dunes and their vegetation has been documented. These affectations, in addition, are transferred to the fauna, composed mainly of reptiles, such as the famous lizards typical of this island.
How does it affect the environment?
In almost 6,000 square meters of land, the researchers detected that the sexual practice points are usually close to the authorized paths, mainly in stabilized wind landforms, the nebkhas, which are dunes formed around the vegetation.
In these points they usually use live or cut vegetation to protect themselves. Those that are less visible are characterized by a higher density of plants and a greater height of vegetation, in addition to being the largest.
The size of these places is important. The higher it is, the greater the number of people who use it and the greater the garbage that is generated, among which are cigarette butts and prophylactics. The damage caused is also greater because there is a higher percentage of cut vegetation and more evidence of remobilization of illegal sediments and toilets.
The authors of the study conclude that the development of ‘cruising’ – practicing sex with strangers – in this reserve “is a consequence of the paralysis of the eolian sedimentary dynamics induced by the urban development in its surroundings“In addition, they argue that the expansion of this activity has led” to total abandonment of environmental educational uses in the dune field, one of the original primary activities for which the Reserve was established. “
The researchers also criticize the lack of control so far by the managing administrations.
Who are the authors of the damages?
It is estimated that those who come to this beach to practice sex in the open air are a heterogeneous audience: gay men, lesbian women and heterosexual swinger couples would be the profiles that most visit it with this objective.
The authors of the study make it clear that it is not about stigmatizing any group, but about appealing to individual responsibility so that their activities do not harm the environment.