BRICK-BEACH - Artificial regeneration of urban beaches with eroded recylced aggregates

Submitted by UIA admin on lun, 12/18/2017 - 12:02


Ayuntamiento de Vélez-Málaga
Velez-Malaga Brick-Beach project
Challenge addressed

Beaches are the result of a delicate balance between two opposing flows: erosion and new contributions. Waves imply a constant loss of sand, compensated by the arrival of new sediments that reach the sea through the rivers. The construction of dams, ports, and other human Activity has slowed down the natural flow of new sediments, and it is nowadays necessary to add them artificially. The sediments are obtained by dredging the seabed, which is not sustainable from both environmental and economic perspectives. In addition to an environmental problem, the degradation of the beaches threatens the economic Activity linked to it, and the welfare of many families.

At the same time that the beaches disappear in Vélez-Málaga, the mountains of rubble grow. Without respect to existing regulations, the waste from construction material currently accumulates in illegal landfills. Grounds, stones, asphalt pavements, bricks, glass, plastics, plasters, irons, and timbers are stacked on protected areas, affecting the natural environment and the landscape.

Solution proposed

BRICK-BEACH project turns problems into opportunities, and uses the waste materials from illegal dumpings (BRICKS) for the regeneration of the littoral (BEACHES). 

An innovative treatment plant will be built to integrate selecting, crushing and eroding processes, as well as gypsum recovery system. From the existing illegal landfills in Vélez-Málaga, this plant will produce a high quality recycled aggregate suitable as a beach material. This way:

  1. The damages that dredging the seabed would have produced will be avoided.
  2. The layers of clay created from the use of sand from the seabed will not appear thus avoiding negative impact on tourism.
  3. The piles of rubble will disappear and the landscape will be restored.

The aggregate produced from the treated construction waste will be used to regenerate the beaches in Vélez-Málaga. The University of Malaga will perform quality tests on the produced aggregate to ensure its wide acceptance and safe use in the environment. With the Mezquitilla beach regeneration, the project will implement an integrated environmental and economic regeneration programme. An integrated treatment of environmental recovery through vegetation will be carried out: plant species will be seeded in the upper beach area and seagrass meadows restocked under sea level. The maintenance of these meadows, which serve as a refuge for many species of fry, will increase the productivity of the fishing Activity in the area and will require its protection from trawler boats by installing stakes that also allow the cultivation of mollusks. The new urban space created with the beach regeneration will also be an opportunity to generate new economic opportunities based on environmental values such as recycling and reuse.

  • City of Velez-Malaga
  • Spanish ministry of agriculture, food and environment
  • Andalucian Regional department for the environment and land planning; 1 higher education and research institute: University of Malaga
  • Aula del Mar de Málaga - NGO
  • Spanish Federation of Business Associations of Construction and Demolition Waste recovery (VALORIZA).
Expected results
  • Establishment of an innovative Treatment Plant for construction and demolition waste with the aim of increasing the C&D waste’s recovery rate by 25%. This plant will induce the creation of transport, treatment and waste management companies.
  • The innovative aggregate produced during the project will be used to regenerate the Mezquitilla beach (800 meters long)
  • Cleaning and decontamination of the 12 illegal dumping in Vélez-Málaga, recovering the spoiled protected areas and avoiding the contamination of aquifers.
  • Regeneration of the beach of Mezquitilla, included in the Natura 2000 Network and recovery of the entire coastal ecosystem including pine and “tamarix canariensis” forests and marine meadows.
  • Creation of a new urban space that will support socio-economic activities linked to the maritime-land domain such as hospitality, nautical sports, diving, aquaculture, riverside carpentry, boatyard and car parks.
Main milestones

February 2019: Treatment Plant is built and starts operating and producing aggregate.

April 2019: The first works for the regeneration of Mezquitilla Beach start, using the materials produced by the Treatment Plant.

June 2020: As part of the economic regeneration scheme, showers, walkways, litter bins, etc are installed on the beach that is ready for the summer season. Recycled material has been incorporated in the design of the beach.

September 2020: Restoration of the marine environment starts, with meadows of marine phanerogams.

The BRICK-BEACH Project confirms the commitment of the Vélez-Málaga City Council for sustainability and innovation. The model of development that we pursue, uses natural resources in a sustainable way, in fishing, in agriculture, and also in tourism. We are creative in the search for solutions and this is why we have turned the problem of illegal dumps into an opportunity for the regeneration of beaches, in a circular economy model.

María José Roberto Serrano - Deputy Mayor
The project in numbers
3.250 meters
out of the 18.000 m of the beaches of Vélez-Málaga need to be regenerated
237.408 sq. m
in the city are occupied by illegal debris dumps
665.800 m³
of waste could be used for the regeneration of beaches
75.000 tons of waste
per year will be treated and converted from waste to regeneration material
Contact of the project
Pablo Fernandez Rodriguez
Project Coordinator

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