- State Heritage refuses to authorise mud baths in Torrevieja
The Generalitat is to launch an information campaign to make the public aware of the illegality of taking mud baths in the pink lakes of Las Salinas. They have warned that following the campaign local police will be told to issue fines, from between 60 to 600 euro, to anyone found contravening this new law.
The general director of Natural Environment and Environmental Assessment, Antoni Marzo , the director of the Natural Park of Lagunas de La Mata and Torrevieja, Francisco Martínez and the Torrevieja councillor of the Environment, Fanny Serrano have all given their support to the measure along with their rejection of a proposed plan to authorise mud baths in specially bounded areas.
Serrano said that the environmental group “has reiterated on many occasions that taking mud baths in the lagoon is absolutely prohibited under any circumstance” and that “it is based on two reasons, one of them is purely environmental, and the other is due to safety reasons”, because of the salt extraction work that takes place in adjacent areas.
These baths “are considered to be highly dangerous, since the extraction of salt is done by automatic machinery that operated under the water and that could cause fatal injuries to illegal bathers.” The Law 11/94 relating to Natural Spaces in the Valencian Community, stipulates that penalties will range from 60 to 600 euros.
The general director of Natural Environment, Antoni Marzo said that “the ban is immediate” and adding that “a publicity campaign notifying people of the law will be put into place with immediate effect.”
Francisco Martínez, director of the Natural Park, said, “The operation will last the entire summer period.” This operation will also be reinforced by a private security that the salt company will provide.
Serrano also added that Turismo Comunitat Valenciana has been asked to sanction and pursue those companies that offer the experience of bathing in the lagoons within their tourism packages, a practice that has already been detected.
The councillor said that “we have some organized visits to Las Salinas that meet all the environmental and sustainable criteria and that they have all the corresponding authorisations and what we want is to protect and reinforce them”.
Although mud baths in the lagoon have been a widespread practice for decades, the distribution of spectacular images of the pink lagoon in social networks and the use of the salty landscape as an advertising scenario has made it a popular destination, hence many members of the public will find the new legislation difficult to accept.
The visitors look for the supposed dermatological benefits of the mud, in addition to the experience of buoyancy in the salt water. During the summer such visits can also be accompanied by spectacular sunsets on the mirror of the lake.
In other nearby salt mines, such as those in San Pedro del Pinatar, the mud bath is not only authorised, but there are also specific areas where it is encouraged, as well as in a natural park, although these areas are not used by the salt works and are less sensitive from an environmental point of view and therefore without security problems.