TENERIFE wants to ban tourists from building the famous ‘stone towers’ at the beaches on the island as it is damaging the local environment.
Visitors flock to areas such as Playa Jardin to take photos of the towers as well as build their own.
Hundreds of people descend to the black-sand beach to look at the iconic stone statues, posing for Instagram images of the unusual sight.
However, local conservationists explain that the stone towers damage the local habitat as well as the creatures who use the stones as their home.
Local biologist Pedro Luis Sánchez explained in a video, according to The Local: “The stones provide a home for living beings, such as plant organism that are essential for the health of the soil and are needed for insects to thrive.
“They in turn provide food for reptiles who live under these rocks. When we pile up the rocks, we take away their home.”
Biologist Matías Fonte added that the high towers put more pressure on the landscape, damaging it further.
According to El Pais, the trend boomed with tourists after a meditation event called the Harmonic Convergence in the US in 1987 built the towers during the event, leading to others wanting to replicate the image around the world.
The erection of stone towers is often seen as a monument for burial grounds or shrines, particularly in Scotland and Peru.
This has led to the misconstruction behind the meaning of the stones in Tenerife, which some tourists think is part of the local Spanish culture.
Jaime Coello, director of the Telesforo Bravo Juan Coello Foundation said that tourists “don’t realise” it isn’t religiously significant: “When they see the towers, they think it is a local tradition and they imitate it.”
Now, local volunteers in collaboration with the foundation sweep the area in a bid to take down the statues and return them to their rightful places.
While it takes less than an hour to clear the area, the stone towers are built again by the next day.
Plans to put up posters in the local area warning tourists about the repercussions of building the towers have also been suggested along with a potential legal ban.
In 2017, a tourist faced vandalism charges and jail for balancing piles of rocks on iconic British landmarks.
He was accused of “rubbing out history” by creating the statues.
Tourists in Gran Canaria could also face large fines and prison sentences for writing messages in the sand of protected beaches.