Spanish council clears up murky 'peeing in the sea' rule that threatened to hit tourists with hefty €750 fine

9 July 2024, 12:33

Spanish council clears up murky 'peeing in the sea' rule that threatened to hit tourists with hefty €750 fine
Spanish council clears up murky 'peeing in the sea' rule that threatened to hit tourists with hefty €750 fine. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

A Spanish council has been forced to clarify a murky rule that could see tourists who 'pee in the sea' slapped with a hefty €750 fine.

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Tourists who urinate in the sea in Marbella had been told they could face a salty £634 fine after plans for stricter summer rules were approved in the Spanish holiday resort.

The city, in southern Spain, had introduced the fining system to preserve the cleanliness of the Costa del Sol coastline, but it instead left many questioning just how the law would be policed.

Now, the council have attempted to clear up the issue, highlighting it applied to people who might choose to urinate into the sea from the shoreline.

It comes as a group of furious anti-tourism protesters targeted diners in Barcelona over the weekend, spraying them with water guns before blocking exits to popular hotels.

Now, the council have attempted to clear up the issue, highlighting it applied to people who might choose to urinate into the sea from the shoreline.
Now, the council have attempted to clear up the issue, highlighting it applied to people who might choose to urinate into the sea from the shoreline. Picture: Alamy

The proposal was drafted to include 25 beaches in the Malaga municipality - a popular destination among Brits.

Marbella’s city council approved the plans on 21 June as the resort looks to limit the damage caused by the high volume of holidaymakers over summer.

Read more: ‘You’re not welcome!’: Furious anti-tourism protesters spray diners with water guns as tensions rise across Spain

However, the rule is yet to pass public consultation - a stage that must be cleared before becoming law.

"The by-law does not impose a sanction for peeing in the sea," they said in an email to The Guardian.

"It will not be applicable. The by-law regulates possible antisocial infractions on the beach, just as any such acts are regulated in any public space such as on the city's streets."

The city in southern Spain has introduced the fining system to preserve the cleanliness of the Costa del Sol coastline
The city in southern Spain has introduced the fining system to preserve the cleanliness of the Costa del Sol coastline. Picture: Alamy

A previous legislation introduced in 2004 saw tourists face fines of up to €300 (£254).

Despite the new legislation, it is unclear how tourists guilty of “physiological evacuation at sea and on the beach” will be identified for the fines to be enforced.

The new restrictions also have an emphasis on keeping dogs out of the sea and on dog-designated beaches.

With the intention of improving beach safety the region is prohibiting playing with a ball in the water, reserving areas with parasols and public events without prior authorisation.

Marbella’s city council approved the plans on 21 June
Marbella’s city council approved the plans on 21 June. Picture: Alamy

Despite smoking not being banned, those caught littering cigarette butts or food waste could face fines.

The council in the Spanish city of Vigo had introduced the same fine in 2022 for those found urinating in the shallows.

Under the rules, public urination in beach areas was made a “minor infraction” and “an infringement of hygiene and sanitary regulations”.

Meanwhile, tourists in Benidorm could face fines of up to €1,200 (£1,025) for visiting beaches between midnight and 7am, with swimming, sleeping and camping on the beach also prohibited in these hours.

The largest fine in Benidorm is for smoking on the beach - an offence that faces a penalty of €2,000 (£1,700).

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