For the sixth consecutive day the Mar Menor drowns. Tens of thousands of dead fish have been shipwrecked on the beaches of the salty lagoon. The image is not new: in October 2019 Villananitos beach, located on the shores of the Mar Menor, woke up with hundreds of dead fish.
Faced with this situation, last Friday the head of the regional executive, Fernando López Miras, proposed three measures in the face of this new episode of anoxia in the Mar Menor. The President of the Region demanded that the State give him the powers of the coasts and the basin, has announced the launch of a decree to prohibit the entry of “nutrients” through the Albujón Rambla and has recovered Vox’s proposal to recover the draft from the gola of Marchamalo.
Miras has assured that “since they hold him responsible for what happened, he wants to assume responsibility” and that he has done “everything possible” for the Mar Menor with current tools. The professor of the University of Alicante, Francisca Giménez, reproaches the regional Executive that “it has not made a single proposal related to its competences”. Julio Más, former director of the Oceanographic Center of Murcia, objects, and denounces that the Region “does not apply the nitrates directive or the legal limit of 1,500 meters for the use of nitrogen fertilizers. It does not apply the laws that he promulgates, but asks for a series of competences that no autonomous community has and that go against generalized scientific criteria “.
“For years we have been asking for measures that have not been put into practice. We asked that the intensive agriculture area be reduced to at least 10,000 irrigated hectares. That the Administration take over the 8.5,000 illegal irrigated hectares that the Community had denied until the Hydrographic Confederation confirmed its existence, we proposed a network of green filters for wetlands and measures so that wastewater does not end up in the Mar Menor every time there is heavy rain “, recalls Pedro García, director of the Association of Southeast Naturalists ( ANSE).
“Measures of war between administrations”
Giménez insists on the margin of action that Miras has with the current powers, and adds that what was proposed in the press conference last Friday “are measures of war between administrations, not to seek solutions.” The professor is concerned about the proposal to recover the depth of the Marchamalo gola. This measure was already suggested by Vox in 2019 and ruled out by the scientific community: “When enough water enters the Mediterranean Sea into the Mar Menor, what can cause is that the pathogen that has killed the nacra in the Mediterranean enters. risk to the last specimens of this critically endangered species “. The professor warns that “this water that is going to come out is going to alter the water and the quality of the beaches of La Manga that face the Mediterranean.”
With regard to the prohibition of the entry of nutrients to the Rambla del Albujón, Giménez observes that “if you make that proposal to close the aquifer with impressive public expenditures and continue to introduce water into the aquifer, what good is it?”
The former director of the Oceanographic does not hesitate to accuse Miras of having fallen into a “fallacy”: “The regional government excuses itself by rebounding the problem to the central Administration that water is entering through the channels, which are the responsibility of the State. The point is that the Southeast is one of the most arid ecosystems in Europe. There is practically no rain, there is no permanent channel except the Segura river, which is the most regulated in Europe. So how can it be that a Rambla del Albujón and others in the slope of Campo de Cartagena have water all year round? Where does the water come from? Intensive irrigation, which is the responsibility of the autonomous community, “explains the former director.
Nitrates, phosphates and herbicides
“Really the problem is not the water. The water is not natural, it is irrigation, and the problem is nitrates, mineral phosphates and herbicides and other compounds that it carries in solution. So the argumentative basis that it is the hydrographic basin controlled by the State is the one that causes the problem to fall from its base. Those basins should not have water and the problem is not the water, but what it carries “, abounds Mas.
The former director of the Oceanographic indicates the over-exploitation of the Campo de Cartagena as the great enemy of the “Mar Menor”: “The Campo de Cartagena begins to reproduce this intensive irrigation system through the transfer water.” “What the transfer brought was a form of agricultural management that discarded any other. It led to this because it was accompanied by many illegal activities and a growth in intensive agriculture. It must be remembered that the Segura Hydrographic Confederation has allowed and legalized This proliferation. The transfer installed a form of operation that meant that many farmers, if they wanted to survive, had to function in the same way “, explains the director of ANSE. “It does not mean that the transfer has to be removed, but reused it. We are facing a great crisis: either we increase the crisis or we make a deep reflection that will lead us towards a more sustainable system”, Julio Mas clarifies.
Last Saturday Miras continued to defend his measures on social networks, updating his profile photo with the logo of the SOS Mar Menor association. The head of the Murcian Executive insists that “the scientific community agrees that the main problem is the entry of fresh water with nutrients from the aquifer to the Mar Menor, through boulevards and subsoil, due to the high water table of the aquifer”, but without relating these levels with intensive agriculture in Campo de Cartagena.