Gran Canaria’s sand dunes see ‘dreamy transformation’ in absence of tourists
The world famous maspalomas sand dunes in Gran Canaria have undergone a stunning natural transformation during six-week coronavirus lockdown. Stretches of golden untouched sand without any footprints or debris can be seen across its huge 1,000 acres.
The historic maspalomas dunes were named a Natural Reserve in 1897.
Grand Canaria is the second most populated Island in the Canary Islands and attracts more than four million visitors each year.
The sand dunes are located to the south of the Island next to a popular beach – which attracts visitors to its famous nudist bathing area.
The protected dunes had been under threat by the increased presence of holidaymakers.
Green campaigners had taken the step to hand out leaflets to arrivals at airports urging them to respect the sand by not drawing pictures and symbols.
Technical director of the Masdunas project, Miguel Ángel Peña said the famous attraction has returned to a “dreamy landscape” not seen for half a century.
He said: “The confinement has emptied the Dunes of Maspalomas of passers-by, which has resulted in it no longer having footprints and recovering a dreamy landscape that has not been seen for 50 years.
“The coronavirus and the State of Emergency, with harsh consequences for the population, but necessary to preserve their health, is nevertheless facilitating the recovery of essential ecological processes from diverse environments.
“More than half of the sand moved from the tip to nearby Playa de El Inglés has already been incorporated into the system by nature through marine dynamics.”
Spain has begun easing lockdown measures as its daily coronavirus death toll continues to fall.
Environment Minister Teresa Ribera added the government was keen to get the tourism industry moving again but only if it could be done safely.
Tourism accounts for a huge 12 percent of Spain’s GDP.
Ms Ribera said: “If we open it has to be with total security; most employers and unions are already working on what constitutes ‘safe tourism’ so as not to unnecessarily increase our risks.”
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Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has outlined a four-phase plan to lift the lockdown with a planned return to normality by end-June.
The Spanish Health Ministry confirmed a further 288 people had died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours – the lowest daily rise in a month.
Spain has the fourth highest number of coronavirus fatalities in the world behind the US, Italy and UK, with 23,190 fatalities.
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