ALL political parties in Mojacar agree the growing problem of young people gathering in public spaces to drink alcohol needs an urgent solution.
Mojacar Mayor, Rosa Maria Cano, says that while the town wants to attract all kinds of tourists, street drinking is putting off other visitors.
The ‘botellon’, is the name given to people, mainly youths, gathering in the streets to drink alcohol, but to Mojacar Town Hall, it is synonymous with a ‘summer storm’ which needs to be dispelled as quickly as possible.
Despite the Junta de Andalucia law against street gatherings to drink alcohol, which came into effect in December 2006, Mojacar has become one of the favourite spots in the Levante Almeriense area for this activity, as reported in last week’s EWN.
The councillor for Mojacar Positiva se Mueve, Jesicca Simpson, said at a recent meeting with the mayor that this could only have negative consequences for the town.
“It wouldn’t be a problem if the youths visited local bars, but instead of that they go to the beach discos and restaurants and gather outside to drink alcohol bought in supermarkets, from their cars or on the sand”.
Local residents complain that there are small groups almost every day, but at the weekends, and despite the threat of fines, hundreds of people gather, leaving behind them a trail of bottles, plastic glasses, bags, cigarette butts, urine and worse.
“The number of cleaners for the area has had to been increased to deal with all their rubbish” said Simpson. “Not to mention the fact that they relieve themselves wherever they feel like, destroy whatever the find in their way and make a lot of noise”.
“Urgent measures need to be taken so the image of the town is not damaged forever” she said.
Her demands are echoed by those of Diego Garcia, the spokesman for Union Mojaquera, who suggest that surveillance be increased to prevent the ‘botellon’ being held to let other people rest, ensure public health and “change the situation of alarm in the town”.
His party also complains that the ‘botellon’ is a danger to traffic and pedestrians, as well as leading to frequent fights and use of illegal substances.
Meanwhile, ACEM President , Karin Schroter, said “this situation is like a wild beast which is developing in a way which is hard to control. We must sit down with the town hall and local businesses and set out a plan for how to manage local tourism for the coming years. If things go on this way, we will lose family tourism”.
“We are not against youths visiting the town,” she said. “But they have to be kept under control”.