• Zahara de los Atunes, a beach in Spain, was doused with bleach as the country eases lockdown
  • Officials said this was for the protection of the children against the novel coronavirus
  • Spain is the second country with the highest number of coronavirus cases.

Environmentalists are angry over Spain's coronavirus cleaning protocol as a picturesque beach in a coastal resort town was sprayed with bleach in an attempt to protect the kids from contracting the virus.

Tractors carrying bleach solution sprayed over a stretch of 1.2 miles across the Zahara de los Atunes in Cadiz as Spain prepares to ease its lockdown measures. On Tuesday, Spain allowed children under 14 years old to finally go outside of the house for an hour after being in quarantine since the middle of March.

Spanish officials bleached the beaches of Zahara de los Atunes in Cadiz, Spain to kill coronavirus. Wikimedia Commons

The move to bleach the beach, however, has caused "brutal damage" to the ecosystem, claims the leader of an environmental volunteer group.

"Bleach is used as a very powerful disinfectant, it is logical that it be used to disinfect streets and asphalt, but here the damage has been brutal," eco-activist María Dolores Iglesias said. "They have devastated the dune spaces and gone against all the rules. It has been an aberration what they have done, also taking into account that the virus lives in people, not on the beach."

Iglesias said the beach was actually on its way of "cleaning" itself because of the lockdown as wildlife has slowly trickled and thrived again.

Greenspace España also weighed in on the decision to bleach the beach and compared it to President Donald Trump's comment about injecting disinfectant to clean the body and fight coronavirus.

"Fumigating beaches in the middle of the breeding season for birds or the development of the invertebrate network that will support coastal fishing and destroy the tourist value of the coastline, is not one of Trump’s ideas," Greenspace tweeted. "It is happening in Zahara de los Atunes."

Municipal official Agustín Conejo admitted they made a mistake. However, Conejo said they had the best of intentions in deciding the coronavirus cleaning protocol to protect the children.

The regional government is reportedly weighing a fine for its municipal officials.

Spain is one of the countries badly hit by the coronavirus. As of April 29, it has overtaken Italy as the second country with the highest rate of infection next to the United States. It has 236,899 cases and nearly 25,000 deaths.

To curb the spread, Spain has implemented strict social distancing measures for six weeks. It will begin to loosen up its safety protocols by May 4 for hairdressers and similar services. Restaurants will also start serving take-aways but by May 11, small businesses and places of worship will be allowed to reopen.