Sunday, October 2

A concert, sewage and more than fifty boats in an illegal party that threatens the Mar Menor

Last Saturday, hundreds of people protested in La Manga del Mar Menor demanding measures to stop pollution in the salty lagoon. At that same time, just 4 kilometers away, more than fifty boats were celebrating a big bottle in the vicinity of one of the Mar Menor islands, Ciervo Island.

During that night, the FlippaBoat boat company organized a boat trip for an amount of 25 euros and, in parallel, in the same area there was a concert organized, among others, by a PP councilor from the City Council of the coastal municipality of La Unión .

According to environmental associations and those in defense of the Mar Menor, this incident has endangered the integrity of the area’s ecosystem, which is a ZEPA space (Special Bird Protection Area).

“They have been doing this all their lives. The boats go to Isla Perdiguera, Isla del Ciervo and Isla del Barón, they anchor wherever they want without any control to drink and spend the day”, denounces Rocío García, one of the promoters of the Popular Legislative Initiative to endow the Sea Minor legal personality. She assures that on Saturdays and Sundays the surroundings of Isla del Ciervo “are filled with boats”, although she admits that she had never seen an organized party.

He assures that all the boats that anchored that day dragged algae from the area, rich in feophyceae, a vital fragile vegetation in the lagoon’s ecosystem. Where the boats congregated is also the place where fartet fish recover, one of the most endangered species of vertebrates, which is also in the breeding season: “It has been like making a macrobotellón next to the burrow of an Iberian lynx ”, exemplifies Rubén Vives, spokesperson for Ecologists in Action.

Pedro García, director of the Association of Naturalists of the Southeast (ANSE), is especially concerned about the frequency with which these gatherings of boats take place: “When the easterly wind blows in the northern interior of La Manga, next to the embankment, up to 100 boats can be concentrated”. The director of ANSE explains that “if there is any nacra – a bivalve in danger of extinction – left in that area of ​​​​the sea floor, it is very difficult for it to spend the summer.”

“There was no organization”

The Maritime Captain of Cartagena, Óscar Villar, assures that the macrobotellón that is governed by Decree 62/2008 of the Captaincy, “had no authorization.” It requires formalizing documentation and establishing a security device”, he underlines. From SOS Mar Menor they have filed a complaint with both the Prosecutor’s Office and Seprona against what happened.

Both Diego Paredes, owner of the company that organized the FlippaBoat boat excursion, and Ginés Guzmán, drummer of the group that played on the Isla del Ciervo and councilor of the PP in the City Council of La Unión, exculpate themselves from the organization of the macrobotellón: “ We went to the party with the boat, but we did not organize it. About 40 people could go on my boat”, defends Paredes, who assures that they even arrived late to the concert: “Last year, they did it in the same place and the same music group”, he maintains.

However, on the posters announcing that day’s excursion they promote “live music” and “a unique concert in the Mar Menor”.

Guzmán, for his part, who was also one of the delegates of the Popular Party of the Region that attended the national popular congress held in Seville, assures that the concert was about the celebration of a private birthday party: “It was a meeting of friends with a few boats to which others were added around to our surprise. There was no organization, no previous call, not even informal. There was no charge to play, nor was anyone charged money to attend.”

gray and black water

Rocío García warns of the large concentration of waste generated every week by boats in the islands of the Mar Menor: “People leave garbage bags on Isla del Ciervo, as if someone were going to pick them up. When I had the boat I would go and clean the three islands. Once I even picked up a shopping cart.”

“The ports of the Mar Menor do not have a service to empty the black and gray waters,” says the director of ANSE. “A boat with a toilet generates residual water. Where does the sewage from the ships in the Mar Menor go? To the Mar Menor”, ​​denounces Pedro García, who recalls that these waters must go to the sewage network for treatment.

“A postcard” from the Mar Menor

“The party has brought us back to reality a bit,” reflects Pedro García. “This is the Mar Menor: a huge boat park with eleven marinas and about 4,000 boats.”

The director of ANSE affirms that the lagoon is a relatively safe place to go by boat, even for inexperienced people, which is why it attracts “people who like to party, very Sunday tourism,” he defines. “Last Saturday’s party has been a postcard of what has been planted for many years.”

From the naturalist association, it denounces the “inaction” by the regional government in controlling compliance with the Mar Menor law and insists that the environmental regulations are applied by the Autonomous Community. Pedro García argued that the Mar Menor is a protected natural area and the Community is the one empowered to regulate the activities that take place in the salty lagoon. “One of the activities that it can regulate is anchoring: they could establish an anchoring map with buoys, it would also prevent two boats from being put together,” he suggests.

Last Tuesday, for his part, the Murcian Minister of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Environment and Emergencies, Antonio Luengo, declared to the media that he was not “against any type of concentration of boats with a recreational purpose because seems totally reasonable and appropriate both in the Mar Menor and anywhere”.