! Murcia Today – Environmentalists in Action award black flags to Mar Menor and Portman Bay

Publication date: 06/14/2022

The flags highlight the beaches and coastal areas of Spain who fail in their environmental efforts

The Mar Menor and the Sierra Minera-Bahía de Portmán are again the areas of the Region of Murcia that receive the “black flags” of the environmental group Ecologists in Action (Ecologistas en Acción), which awards these ironic distinctions as a form of protest against poor environmental management and pollution in these areas.

The Mar Minor

In a report presented on Tuesday, the environmental organization stressed that, in the case of the Mar Menor, although “some improvements” are observed under the effect of “social pressure”, there is still “much to do”. this is why it continues to receive a black flag.

For Ecologists in Action, poor land management and the lack of regulation of economic sectors, in particular agro-industry and intensive livestock farming, are pushing the ecosystem to the “limit of its capacity to resist”.

The State of the Environment report states that the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) recognized in 2021 that the lagoon ecosystem had “lost its capacity for self-regulation”, so any impact, such as excessive intake of nutrients, has serious consequences. .

However, in the same document, the IEO stated that it is still possible to recover a large part of the Mar Menor, provided that effective solutions are adopted immediately.

At the moment, although there have been some movements of “hope”, according to Ecologistas en Acción, the reality is that “almost everything remains to be done” in terms of reducing pollution at source and in terms of measures to prevent him from advancing towards the Mar Menor.

She warned that the threat of a new “green soup” and animal mortality due to anoxia this year is recognized by all administrations and scientific experts, while alerting to the economic and social consequences of the degradation , which are already beginning to be quantified in “millions of dollars of losses”, both in the real estate sector and in the tourism and fishing sectors.

Portman Bay

Ecologists in Action awards black flags to Mar Menor and Portman Bay

After decades of environmental pollution from destructive mining activities, the Sierra Minera is now a ‘scorched earth’, where private enterprise profits from the exploitation of natural resources.

These benefits, according to Ecologistas en Acción, were obtained by destroying the landscape and generating tons of toxic waste that accumulated in ponds without adequate insulation and sealing, and which almost completely blocked the bay, leaving local populations a “very bleak future: without landscape and with a huge debt in the form of toxic waste”.

The organization’s report says that after mining ceased in the 1990s, the administration allowed the company to leave at virtually no cost, and the current owners were not obliged to prevent the spread of contamination from the piles of waste.

Since then, more than two decades have passed during which there have been constant calls for a solution, a future for the affected populations, which, despite some progress, has yet to come.

Additionally, Ecologists in Action has warned of the health effects for local people, who are showing “unacceptable levels” of heavy metals due to this exposure, and are watching in despair as public administrations “play down the problem” and wait. “eternally” to implement promised solutions, which “seem never to happen”.

These two cases, the report concludes, remain the “most serious” cases of mismanagement and pollution of the coastal environment, but it pointed out that in the rest of the coast of the Region of Murcia there are “many other undesirable impacts and situations, which also deserve to be denounced and effective solutions demanded”.

In Spain, of the 48 black flags in the 2022 report, 14 were awarded for “discharge, deficiencies in sewerage systems and serious sewerage problems” and another 10 for “coastal development encroaching on the maritime-terrestrial public domain”, the two most important. common causes this year.

Other causes for awarding black flags this year were “effects on biodiversity” (5 black flags), “dredging and extensions” (4), “development of coastal industrial areas” (4), l coastal erosion (3), accumulation of marine litter (3) and others such as “aquaculture” and “chemical pollution” (4).

Picture 1: CARM

Image 2: Town Hall of La Union

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