Organisations in defence of the Mar Menor have called for a large demonstration for the recovery of this important ecosystem on Thursday 7 October at 20.00 hours, supported by 185 social, neighbourhood and trade union groups.
The protest will start at the headquarters of the Government Delegation in Murcia and the regional government, in parallel, and will end at the Department of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Environment, on which depend the “majority of powers necessary to remedy the ecological crisis of the lagoon,” according to sources from Ecologists in Action.
The demonstration, which comes after almost two months of constant activity for the Mar Menor, will demand an urgent solution to the “critical” state of this ecosystem from the administrations, especially the regional government, which “holds the main powers in terms of land use planning and environmental protection”, according to the same sources.
Although they have been demanding the implementation of measures for years, Ecologists in Action points out that the appearance of thousands of dead fish on its shores, in the middle of the tourist season, “has generated numerous headlines in the national and international media”. It has also caused “great social alarm, both in nearby towns and in the rest of the territory”.
“The feeling of loss and indignation has permeated throughout regional society and has gone beyond the borders of Murcia, as it is one of the tourist destinations par excellence on the coast,” according to the environmental organisation, which explains that the Mar Menor “is one of the most unique and emblematic natural areas of the peninsula”.
For this reason, at the same time as the demonstration in Murcia, rallies will take place in different parts of Spain in support of the demands for a living Mar Menor. Brussels, Madrid, Valencia, Pamplona-Iruñea, Bilbao, Donostia and Alicante are some of the places where the cry ‘#SOSMarMenor’ will be heard.
The organising groups stress that the main cause of the eutrophication process is the “entry of fertilisers from the agricultural sector in the Campo de Cartagena”.
“There are many scientific reports that indicate that without regulating the use of fertilisers, together with agri-environmental measures to prevent the flow of nutrients from reaching the ecosystem at source, it will be impossible for it to recover,” explains Ecologists in Action.
The coordinator of Ecologists in Action in the Region of Murcia, Pedro Luengo, declared that “while the regional government focuses on ineffective ‘end-of-pipe’ measures, which only act on the symptoms and not on the root of the problem”, the scientific community and social organisations “are proposing the reconversion of the agricultural model towards a more sustainable system”.
“Among these measures is the environmental recovery of the wadis and natural flood zones, the establishment of a renaturalised strip around the ecosystem and the application of natural systems against erosion, as well as green filters that eliminate most of the sediments and fertilisers that currently reach the Mar Menor,” he adds.
COMPLAINT TO EUROPE
The demonstration in Murcia and the support rallies in different municipalities coincide with the formal complaint that ClientEarth and Ecologistas en Acción have presented to the European Commission. The team of environmental experts from both organisations claim that the “continued lack of protection of the Mar Menor is in breach of national and EU legislation”, and urge Europe to take urgent action against the Spanish state.
Ecologists in Action recalls that the scientific community has already warned of the impact of these activities, but the regional and Spanish governments “have failed to control the unstoppable increase in irrigation, some of it illegal, or to effectively reduce its impact”.
“EU legislation requires state authorities to take the necessary measures to prevent the deterioration of protected areas and the quality of water bodies, such as the Mar Menor, the Campo de Cartagena aquifer and the Rambla del Albujón,” he adds. However, the team of experts who drafted the complaint believe that Spain “has failed to comply with this legal obligation by taking only superficial measures to safeguard the Mar Menor”.