Monday, June 27

“Curing the Mar Menor is a state emergency. Another DANA would be total disaster »


The Campo de Cartagena It’s contaminated. So to your mayoress she was visibly seen upset on Saturday before the sixth consecutive day of collection of dead fish on the beaches of the municipality when it had (and that does not like) to order the consequent closure of the sandy areas that range from Cala del Pino to El Vivero beach, on the Murcian coast. Noelia Arroyo placeholder image is the councilor of the town most affected by the umpteenth chapter of the climate crisis in waters of the Mar Menor. He talks to ABC in a ‘polite’ tone, he wants to build bridges. Calls for this environmental catastrophe not to distinguish between acronyms. The serious episodes of anoxia of the sea no longer admit more

fissures or discussions between administrations (local, state and autonomous), or throwing darts into the air to see who picks them up. “Unity is important to save the Mar Menor”, suffering, he says, from a cocktail of circumstances that have caused exactly the same situation in 2019 to be repeated.

To remedy that the wound continues to bleed, a plaster, already approved, but which does not yet plug the fresh water discharges with nitrates into the salty lagoon. The Zero Dumping Plan, approved three years ago, is still a castle in the air. «This disaster is not being treated as a national emergency. The Murcian president has asked today [por ayer] the declaration of a catastrophic zone. But it is approached as a local problem ”.

Arroyo naturalizes the popular irritation that, a few hours before the telephone conversation, images of hundreds of outraged people with their ‘SOS Mar Menor’ banners left when the Vuelta Ciclista a España arrived in the region. The mayor of the PP fears something more than government inaction: a DANA or episode of cold drop in the season that is already approaching. So it portends, “A new flood on such a weakened ecosystem can be catastrophic, total disaster”. For that, who governs the City Council with a “strange tripartite formed by PP, PSOE and Cs”, there will be no differences of political color; just multiple (more) consequences to regret.

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What’s happening … again?

Everything has been put together and, although the behavior of the ecosystem has not been as bad as it is said because it has the capacity to regenerate, now it is in a situation of extreme vulnerability. It is a lie that the Mar Menor is dead. But any alteration (in the level of temperature, oxygenation, increase in chlorophyll, removal of organic matter from the seabed …) harms it. I am not a scientist; But for example, with the last DANA, a lot of fresh water entered the lagoon. In addition, 30 million liters of fresh water with 5,000 kilos of nutrients continue to arrive through the Albujón Rambla. Every day! And the role of this promenade is crucial for the health of the water. Scientists talk about it being a bomb, right now, and that the ‘hatching’ has occurred.

Seeing, another day, the thousands of dead fish, everyone wonders: but who is to blame for such a disaster?

What we ask ourselves is how we have allowed the competence mess (the tug of war between administrations) to leave the infrastructures already approved in the Zero Waste Plan without being executed. And there is no more time. This is not the time to remain installed in the debate: provide urgent solutions. That each administration do what was left to do: the Cartagena City Council has to clean the beaches, the dead fish, close the sandbanks … I go as far as the law allows me and I tell the Ministry of Ecological Transition that if it is not going to do it, or is going to continue in inaction, let us do it, but there are many actions that depend on the environmental processing in the Ministry and it is not being done. The Mar Menor does not understand administrations and citizen fatigue is also joined by the impotence of the administrations that we do want to do.

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Would it be easier to reach a favorable understanding of the lagoon if the PSOE were in the City Council and the Community?

We have reached this point because of what has not been done before and the governments, the municipalities, have changed. This is not the time for political differences, there is no possibility of not working. If the Ministry does not act, let the others act, because there is no other scenario.

What is the most urgent action required by the current situation?

The most important thing that our scientific monitoring committee and all the experts tell us is to cut the arrival of fresh water discharges containing nitrates into the sea in the bud. And so that they do not arrive there is an installation budgeted with 70 million euros that the State must do, which is the north collector.

Do we blame the farmers for the spills then?

What the Ministry is trying to do is blame the farmers. It is part of his story, simple and populist: criminalize agriculture and close the transfer. There are many farmers here who have made their daily work more technical and sustainable, very committed to the environment. For those who are not doing well there are inspections. But the intervention of the State in canalizations is needed and in which it forms part of the solution; there is a sick person to heal and save.


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