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.
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:
- The damages that dredging the seabed would have produced will be avoided.
- The layers of clay created from the use of sand from the seabed will not appear thus avoiding negative impact on tourism.
- 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 Fisheries, Food and Environment
- Andalusian Agency for water and environment
- University of Malaga - 1 higher education and research institute
- Aula del Mar de Málaga - NGO
Andalusian Association of Business of Construction and Demolition Waste recovery (AGRECA)
- 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.
March 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.
August 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. Newly created businesses that will contribute to the economic regeneration of the area start their launching phase.
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.