Environmentalists in Spain hoped wildlife would benefit from the beach in Zahara de los Atunes being closed for six weeks. Then authorities sprayed it with bleach. Officials in the Andalusia fishing village have apologized for the spraying, which they said was done to protect children from the coronavirus, the Guardian reports. Spain is gradually lifting one of Europe's strictest lockdowns and children are now being allowed outside for one hour a day. The town used tractors to spray diluted bleach along the beach. Environmentalists worry that the tractors crushed the eggs of birds that rely on the beach as a nesting area. The bleach may also have killed invertebrates vital to the food chain.
"It’s totally absurd," says María Dolores Iglesias Benitez, head of a local conservation group. "The beach is a living ecosystem. And when you spray it down with bleach, you're killing everything you come across." Local officials say they now realize the spraying was a mistake, "but it was done with the best of intentions." The New York Post reports that Greenpeace Spain said spraying bleach on beaches "is not one of President Trump's ideas. It is happening in Zahara de los Atunes." (More Spain stories.)