The vendors who make a living renting umbrellas and selling fruit and cold drinks to tourists on Manta’s beaches are up in arms about a city project that has removed tons of sand. The federal government is also awaiting an answer from the municipal government.
The sand removal by heavy equipment has allowed the ocean to flood two hundred meters of beachfront at El Murciélago beach, forcing the relocation of vendors and angering property owners in the area.
“They call it cleaning and remediation but they’ve stolen my beach,” says Édison Castro who sells fruits and juices from a cart on El Murciélago. “I hear they’re taking the sand to the beaches where the rich people live.” Other vendors claim that they have lost chair, umbrellas and sales carts due to the sand removal.
Environmentalists say that nests of sea turtles were destroyed during the project and the provincial environmental department, which represents the federal government has sent a letter to city official demanding an immediate cessation of sand removal.
Ecuador’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has given Manta municipal officials 48 hours to explain its action and provide a plan to return the sand.
According to officials, Manta’s beaches are in a distressed condition having suffered serious subsidence following the 2016 earthquake.