The parade of commercial ships has become the usual landscape on the horizon of the beaches of El Saler (Valencia). The residents who reside in the natural area, which is part of the Natura 2000 Network and has special protection, repeatedly denounce that in recent weeks the mega-ships that are going to dock in the Port of València remain anchored for hours a few kilometers from the beach, where they dump their waste and uncontrolled emissions.
The distance at which ships remain at anchor places them in limbo when measuring air pollution. The port of Valencia has two air quality measurement stations located on the eastern and western docks, the results of which can be consulted on the website of the Ministry of the Environment. According to the series of measurements, the air quality usually has acceptable levels (“reasonably good”, according to the parameters analyzed), but residents insist that it is difficult to measure the emissions that are discharged several kilometers from the control stations.
The data recorded by the static stations collide with that of the roving meters. A study of the Polytechnic University of Valencia points out that a third of the citizens of the capital live in areas with levels of environmental pollution above those recommended and it places the neighborhoods surrounding the port among those that exceed these limits. According to the director of the investigation, José Vicente Oliver, the factor that harms El Grau and Natzaret in terms of the degradation of air quality has to do with the activity of the Port of València, mainly with the intensity of maritime and land traffic . Oliver also extends this problem to Pinedo due to the affection of the V-30 and the transfer of trucks that enter and leave the port area.
The Dehesa de El Saler Neighbors Association have been collecting images of ships anchored near the coast and demand efficient pollution controls. The neighborhood association Castes de La Punta highlights this same situation and indicates that the expansion of port capacity will bring with it more ships and, consequently, more emissions. The complaints from the neighborhood groups – in this case, from Natzaret – led the Maritime Captaincy to open two files on two ships for contamination by detecting large columns of smoke in two container ships.
The Port Authority of Valencia has installed two cabins for environmental quality and control this year with the aim of “guaranteeing air quality in the facilities and in nearby areas”; one on the Poniente dock and the other on the old Turia riverbed, enclaves selected by the Center for Environmental Studies for the Mediterranean (CEAM), a foundation of the Generalitat Valenciana for research, technological innovation and improvement of the environment. These stations are added to that of the Levante dock, connected since last October after eleven years without doing so to the measurement network of the regional Executive. According to the forecasts of the Port Authority, another two stations should be installed in the Natzaret neighborhood, an initiative is part of the Green C Ports project, which is coordinated by the Valenciaport Foundation, and which has recently taken a further step with the supply tender , installation and configuration of these environmental control equipment with a budget amounting to 332,700 euros.