With the appearance of dead fish since last Friday continuously on the shore of the Mar Menor, especially on the beach of Los Alemanes and Cavanna and the coves of Pino and del Sujeto, the dance of political responsibilities returns to a possible new anoxia – absence of oxygen in the water – in the lagoon, as has been pointed out by the Spanish Oceanographic Institute (IEO). The Autonomous Community blames the state government for “allowing the entry of nutrients and fresh water into the Mar Menor” and the state blames the regional government for “turning a deaf ear to the clamor of the citizens, to the government sites of the nation and to the instructions of the “Superior Prosecutor of the Region of Murcia”, an organization that opened proceedings last Wednesday to investigate possible criminal responsibilities.
The SOS Mar Menor platform warned since last Monday that a new anoxia was taking place in the lagoon, while the Murcian Government initially ruled out it, noting that the death of fish and crustaceans was exclusively due to the increase in temperature. The Mar Menor lost 85% of its marine vegetation in 2016 due to the problems of eutrophication of the lagoon (contamination of the waters as a consequence of an excess of nutrients in them), due to the discharges of nitrates and phosphates from the Agriculture and Livestock. Rocío García, promoter of the environmental platform, affirms that since then no effective measures have been taken to prevent this “ecocide” from occurring again, causing a new ecological crisis in 2019 and, according to the promoter of SOS Mar Menor, the that is occurring these days.
Since 2019, the Segura Hydrographic Confederation (CHS) has indicated more than 1,740 hectares of illegal irrigation in Campo de Cartagena, whose closure corresponds to the Community, which is why the Government delegate in the Region, José Vélez, considers “Ridiculous” the complaint made by the regional government to the Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera. “It is an irresponsible and almost childish attitude to do nothing and continue to flee from their responsibilities,” Velez has alleged. “It is paradoxical that the regional government is now turning to the Prosecutor’s Office, a body whose mandates and recommendations it repeatedly ignores and which has already urged the regional Executive itself to act against those responsible for the spills that have been causing the progressive deterioration of the Mar Menor for decades.”
Rosa Manrubia, a lawyer specializing in Civil and Criminal law in Cartagena, has assured that “the regional government could have cut the illegal irrigation of the companies and it has not done so.” “Now he presents this complaint that has no route, he only does it as a means of escape from public opinion to avoid assuming responsibility for what happened,” he criticized. The regional spokesperson for Podemos, María Marín, for her part, has alleged that “it produces shame on others to see how PP and PSOE throw dead fish at their heads, while blocking initiatives to protect the lagoon once and for all”, referring to his proposal to create the Mar Menor Regional Park and grant rights to the lagoon. “It could be a reality tomorrow if the Regional Assembly gives its approval.”
Illegal wells and spills to the ramblas
Manrubia considers “regrettable” how “competences that are established by law are being disputed from the Community”, although he affirms that the State Government has not played fair either. “It has also been a bit tricky. It is true that due to the Coastal Law, the cleaning of sludge and removal of dry matter corresponds to the municipalities, but the Ministry for the Ecological Transition committed itself to the Plan for the protection of the coastal edge of the Mar Menor to carry out these activities in the areas of Los Nietos, Estrella de Mar and Los Urrutias “. The lawyer assures that it was not until July of this year when the state government “backed down” and withdrew the paragraphs of the report announcing these measures. “The Confederation has failed in its responsibilities to control illegal irrigation, it has not monitored the proper use of water, illegal wells have been created and there have been discharges to the boulevards, but it is important that we are aware that the main responsible for the The current situation of the Mar Menor is the agribusiness that has contaminated it and the regional government for allowing it. ”
As reported last Sunday by the newspaper The truth, The conclusions of the expert report of the ‘Topillo case’, which attempts to clarify the reasons for the degradation that the Mar Menor has suffered, point to a score of large companies that operate in the Campo de Cartagena as responsible for 92.15% of the nitrate discharges into the Mar Menor, causing damage valued at 18 million euros. Faced with this discovery, Manrubia believes that the Community must take immediate action. “They have to sanction the companies that are polluting. With the ‘Topillo report’ they have the job done, they already know who pollutes, how much and the cost. The only thing left to do is apply it.”
“The Prosecutor’s Office now has to calculate again if recovery is possible, and add to this cost the damage to the property of the owners of the area and to tourism,” explained the lawyer. “There are many residents who live from the hotel industry and who have seen how vacationers have abandoned those beaches due to the decaying state of the Mar Menor, in addition to the devaluation of the price of houses in the area.”
“Policy of crossed arms”
From Podemos, Marín has criticized how “the Government of López Miras puts the interests of a handful of multinational agribusiness companies before the preservation of the Mar Menor and the future of this entire region”, and even pointed out that “the policy of crossed arms of this regional government has an explanation and maybe even a price. ” These statements refer to the new proceedings opened by the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate whether the Regional Minister of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Environment, Antonio Luengo, benefited an agricultural firm belonging to his uncle as a result of the complaint made by the Association of Naturalists of the Southeast (ANSE), according to information from The truth. The association assures that Luengo himself worked as head of plantations and quality of that company. PSOE, Podemos and Citizens in the Region have come together to ask for his resignation.