The Environmental Resources Authority has issued guidelines on how ecologically sensitive beaches should be cleaned, saying that sea grass should be left to accumulate on the beach for as long as possible.

Posidonia oceanica provides food and habitat for a variety of species. Even when it washes ashore, it continues to serve important purposes – providing a place where sand collects to help build beaches and dunes and prevent erosion, providing nutrients for coastal systems and areas where birds and other animals forage and find shelter.

Posidonia oceanica should therefore, as a rule, be left in place for as long as possible during the year especially when the incidence of rough weather is higher, so as to maintain a healthy sand budget,” the ERA said.

The operational guidelines cover a number of issues, such as how and when sea grass can be removed, as well as including sections on ecological, operational and waste management considerations.

“The document aims to attain as near a balance as possible between keeping beaches clean for the enjoyment of the public and protecting the ecology of these environmentally sensitive beaches. However, insensitive or incautious cleaning methodologies can be detrimental to the environmental characteristics of beaches,” the authority said.

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