Spanish coast being ravaged by development

The Spanish coast is being ravaged by a decade-long building boom, and there seems to be no end in sight. About 3 million houses have been started or built in the country in the past four years, with as many as half of them along its famed 3,100-mile coastline. The development boom is ruining ecosystems and bulldozing individuals’ rights to land ownership, as local laws in some regions allow private property to be effectively seized by developers. The construction industry is rife with money laundering and corruption, and politicians have allegedly accepted bribes for building permits; dozens of criminal investigations are under way. “They are legalizing illegal buildings, they are urbanizing the entire area … These days we don’t have any development plans. We just build,” says Miguel Angel Garcia of the World Wildlife Fund. Much of the building is spurred by northern Europeans seeking to retire on the Mediterranean. Ah, the smell of fresh dust and the sweet sound of jackhammers!