The first thing we thought: This is dirty water, this is sewage, people do not take care of the environment… But no, this is not dirt. This is a natural phenomenon caused by the change in water temperature.
A microorganism harmless to man stains the beaches of Malaga orange (not only Nerja, but the entire Mediterranean coast).
This phenomenon happens every year on many beaches in Spain. Large orange and ocher spots cover the beaches. These large spots are made up of millions of marine microorganisms. This plankton is called “Noctiluca scintillans”.
It appears at some times of the year creating great confusion among bathers. This is a microorganism (it is not dirty water, it is not fecal water, it is not black water). When there is a swell, it usually approaches the beaches. The tide and waves usually move these masses to the beaches.
When large masses of these very small microorganisms are created, it is called a “Red Tide” or “Sea Purge”. It is a natural and harmless phenomenon for people. (That does not do physical or moral damage).
The orange tide or Noctiluca scintillans has the peculiarity that it is orange or ocher during the day, and shines at night.
In any case, these are not episodes of pollution on the beaches of Nerja, nor on the coast of Spain. But the water is stained orange by the presence of these microorganisms.
The beaches of Nerja are clean beaches. The beaches of Malaga have boats that clean the surface of the sea every day and try to keep the beaches clean. In addition, Nerja has blue flags on its beaches, certifying the quality of its waters.
The red tide usually originates on the beaches of Malaga in the months of July and August. Bathers and tourists believe that it is dirty water, but it is not. On some occasions the appearance of these microorganisms has been delayed until September.
From government agencies it is confirmed that these microorganisms do not have negative effects for children and people who bathe on the beaches. And they also confirm that the beaches of Malaga are very clean and suitable for bathing.