Why am I doing this?
Whilst travelling Asia I realised how much I love and care for the sea and how important it is to take care of our seas. Since I am living in Barcelona, I decided to snorkel all the beaches in Barcelona and record with a camera how polluted the sea is at these beaches.
Since I am doing this as a hobby, I decided not to provide data but videos and a comment about what I found at each location.
All videos were shot in the morning from 7:50 until 10:00am (the last day on the first of August) . The snorkelling lasted roughly 15 minutes and I went some 100 metres into the sea and then I snorkelled at a maximum depth of 8 metres (in Barceloneta).
It is important to mention that whilst some videos might appear crystal clear and others might look a bit murky, keep in mind that this is due to many natural factors like for example: sea currents and rain and sun light.
Message to All Women
After having snorkelled all beaches in Barcelona I came to the conclusion that the amount of sanitary towels in the sea is worrying. Out of all the possible litter I thought I was going to find, sanitary towels showed up again again and again. If you have the period “please” refrain from entering the sea if you’re using a sanitary towel or if you really want to get into the water then use a tampon.
Platja Sant Sebastià
The first beach starting from the southern part of the city is the one right next to the Hotel W, the one that looks like a sail. The sea at this location was not very polluted compared to the other ones closer to Barceloneta. However, I did find litter some 50 metres in the sea at approximately six metres deep.
From a snorkelling point of view, this beach has a lot of potential due to the amount of fish and the visibility inside the water.
Platja de Sant Miquel
This is the beach that follows Sant Sebastià and it was very clean as you can see in the video. For snorkelling lovers this beach might not be very interesting as there is no many fish or at least I didn’t see many the day I went to record the video.
On the bright side, the water quality of this beach is clean.
Platja de la Barceloneta
This beach is for sure well known to many people and especially tourists from around the world. However, due to this amount of people and also its short distance to the sewage to the left the conditions of the water might not be the most hygienic. I found two main points where the litter gathers:
- By the shore: a big amount of light litter can be found here in the surface of the sea. According to an old man who lives and still swims in Barceloneta every morning told that the cleaning boat that you can see in the video used to come all the way to the shore and collect that rubbish but now it does not do it anymore.
- In the sea at 80 metres and between 6-8 metres deep: here you can find the heavy litter as well as sanitary towels.
This beach has a lot of potential for a snorkelling lover because next to the blocks of cement the sea life is very wide and you can find it in big quantities.
Regarding the boat that you can see in the video it was not collecting littering and in fact it was empty. I was checking every now and then what it was doing but in the end he only took my rubbish and nothing else.
On the bright side, a group of elderly gathers every morning to swim and they collect litter from the shore and take it outside however, they don’t collect the litter underwater.
Platja del Somorrostro
This beach can be mistaken for the Barceloneta beach as it is very close to it, however, this is the beach that perhaps gets most tourists after Barceloneta in a day.
This beach was very clean, the sand and the water were clear and not much litter was seen. The biggest one was a bottle of wine but apart from that one the conditions of this beach were good.
For snorkelling it is a good spot if you want to start snorkelling but there is not much sea life, an occasional fish here and there but not in big quantities.
Platja de la Nova Icaria
If there is a beach that I would avoid is this one. The water conditions were bad, there was a layer of liquid pollution on the top of the water. In addition to this I found many bags in the sea floor and they are very close to the shore at approximately 10 metres into the sea and between 3-4 metres deep. However, I did find these bags over and over again until 6-7 metres deep. I also found sanitary towels but this is a common pattern among all beaches in Barcelona.
In addition to the above mentioned and thanks to the sewage to the left side of the bay there was a string of litter underwater. This could have been a result of overnight under water currents.
In terms of sea life there is nothing much apart from little fish eating litter right next to shore.
Platja del Bogatell
This beach is a good spot for snorkelling especially next to the rocks to the left side of it. In regards to the water quality, the sea is clean. There was litter underwater that can be collected without much effort being at approximately 2-3 metres deep. Most of the litter on the rocks is perhaps was thrown by people at the pier. When I snorkelled that day there was a fisherman but I have seen this spot packed with people. People are not meant to get there and fishing is prohibited but people do not obey the rules.
Platja de la Mar Bella (nudist beach)
The day that I went to record this beach the weather was not the best and rain had moved a lot of sand underwater hence poor visibility. In terms of littering this beach was clean and whilst I did find some litter underwater the amount of these was not great. I presume that this beach under good conditions might have clear water and poor pollution.
In terms of snorkelling I did not see many sea life and perhaps it was due to the poor visibility. In the future I will try to go again and confirm this.
Platja de la Nova Mar Bella
I presume that due to the wind direction a big patch of oily substance was trapped in the right side of the bay. Another possibility is that the bar next to it flushes things right next to it. If I were a fish I would feel like I’m choking. After one minute on this side I went off and decided to go to the other side of the bay and see what I could see.
The other side was better and whilst a lot of sand was around some 20-30 metres into the sea revealed a more promising bay. There was a lot of litter underwater between 6-7 metres deep.
In regards to snorkelling this spot is very good especially next to the rocks where a lot of fish were. I think you’re not supposed to be there since there was a string of buoys, however the life guard did not blow his whistle. A lot of litter can be found on the side of the rocks.
Platja de Llevant
The amount of litter in this part was not great and even though visibility was not good I did not find much litter.
To my surprise this beach has a string of rocks on the right side of the bay at about 40 metres into the sea and at about 6-8 metres deep. Around this rocks there was a lot of sea life and no so much litter. Once you check those rocks you can go to the rocks next to the pier and also check that part.
Beaches that need to be cleaned? (In order of amount of litter)
- Platja de la Nova Icaria
- Platja de la Barceloneta
- Platja del Somorrostro
- Platja de la Nova Mar Bella
- Platja de Sant Sebastià
- Platja del Bogatell
- Platja de Sant Miquel
- Platja de Mar Bella
- Platja de Llevant
Best snorkelling beaches in Barcelona? (Abundance of sea life)
- Platja de Sant Sebastià
- Platja de la Barceloneta (left side of the bay)
- Platja del Llevant (right side of the bay)
- Platja de la Nova Marbella (left side of the bay)