Monday, July 4

Ecologistas en Acción creates a map with 672 illegal dumping points and landfills in the Community of Madrid

Abandoned or burned cars, mattresses, sanitary waste, paints and solvents, tires, oils or asbestos. These are some of the wastes that can be found in the 672 dumping points and illegal dumps in the Community of Madrid that Ecologistas en Acción has gathered in a map. The reason why they have prepared this account, they point out, is “the lack of monitoring of this problem by the Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Agriculture” of the regional government and “the ineffectiveness of the complaints.”

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Hectares of illegal dumping

Mª Ángeles Nieto, coordinator of Ecologists in Action of the Community of Madrid, explains that they have detected two types of areas in the region: dumping points, places with little waste; and the landfills, which occupy hundreds of meters, are many years old and in which all kinds of garbage remain permanently.

Nieto points out that “the main problem is located in the metropolitan south.” Most of the discharge points are located in Leganés (360), Alcorcón (76), Valdemoro (61), Getafe (43), Arganda del Rey (25) or Parla (21). And the illegal landfills, in Leganés, with an area of ​​105 hectares (equivalent to the size of the Polvoranca park); Madrid, with an area of ​​50 hectares (similar to the Tierno Galván park); and, Móstoles and Arroyomolinos, with 6.5 hectares of waste on the banks and in the course of the Guadarrama River.

In addition, the coordinator of the environmental organization points out that the areas that need urgent intervention are the illegal dump located in the Cañada Real Galiana; San Fernando de Henares, close to the Jarama river and located in a protected area; as well as the Camino de la Magdalena, in Madrid; and the Innovation Avenue, in the Leganés Technology Park, due to the large amounts of asbestos detected.

The dumps increase due to the lack of vigilance of the Administration

The report made by the activists also indicates that the main source of illegal dumping is construction. The dumps occupy 28% of the marked points; followed by household goods, which include mattresses, furniture and electrical appliances, which account for 25% of the remains. And the third place is occupied by asbestos (20%), one of the residues that most worries activists since it is toxic and exposure to this material is a carcinogenic risk factor. Nieto also points out that this material must be removed and transported by specialized companies, and the fact that they have found it in such large quantities implies that legal removal procedures are not being followed.

The coordinator denounces that in recent years the debris linked to the works and housing reforms have increased due to the lack of vigilance of the institutions. “With the relaxation of the regulations to streamline procedures and promote economic activity, municipal controls have been eliminated,” explains Nieto, who points out that there are many occasions in which it is not necessary to have a license or a responsible declaration to carry out a work. and that waste can end up in illegal areas. In principle, the companies have established that the rubble must go to a suitable place, but “the City Council does not have the capacity to control whether that is true.” The coordinator specifies that this situation can occur even with specialized companies. “When there are large quantities, they call a company to remove it and instead of taking it to a hazardous waste dump, they throw it in the field,” she explains.

Industrial waste, which includes paints, solvents and plastics, has been found mainly in Arganda del Rey and accounts for 4.3% of all illegal dumping. Abandoned or burned tires and vehicles reach 2%.

Polluted land, water and air

The main consequences of these illegal discharges are environmental, but also health. The spokeswoman for Ecologists points out that pests of insects and rodents proliferate in landfills, and that the fauna and flora of the environment of uncontrolled discharges is affected. In addition, the waste releases toxic substances that reach the ground and can end up in the air and in the water. The rain carries the substances that reach rivers and streams. In addition, the solvents, paints and liquids that emanate from organic waste produce polluting emissions into the atmosphere due to the volatilization of chemical substances. All this can affect the health of citizens who frequent or live near these areas.

Companies specialized in collection without work

“It is a public health problem that is not being addressed, but it is also an economic problem,” says Nieto. There are companies that are dedicated to the transport and classification of waste and are left without work because these tasks are not being demanded. “These jobs are being put at risk,” denounces the coordinator.

Nieto also points out that the fault lies with the people who dump these discharges, but that the responsibility also falls on the municipality, the Community of Madrid and the Hydrographic Confederation of the Tagus, when they are located on the banks or the flow of the rivers. “The withdrawal of such a huge volume of discharges and from such scattered points, as it falls on the administrations, has a strong impact on the public coffers,” recalls Nieto, who adds that these funds could be used in other activities if they were prevented in advance. this illegal activity.

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