Spain plans safe passage for whales

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A “WHALE highway” is being planned by the Spanish Environment Ministry in a bid to help protect and conserve whales and other species on the country’s Mediterranean coast. 

The goal of the project is to establish a special passage through Europe’s largest sea that will be a refuge for whales and dolphins from the scourge of oil drilling. 

Located on Spain’s eastern coast, between the Balearics and Catalonia, planners are hoping the route will be designated a “Specially Protected Zone of Mediterranean Importance” (Zepim) by the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean, an international convention designed to mitigate pollution levels in the sea.

Should the plan be adopted, exploratory oil drilling will be barred from the route in a move that will gladden the hearts of environmental campaigners. The drilling process badly impacts the marine ecosystem and has been a controversial topic for decades. 

The Mediterranean is home to a wide variety of whales and dolphins, including sperm and finback whales, but also horrific levels of pollution, with the United Nations Environment Program estimating that over 500 million tonnes of sewage, oil, phosphates, mercury and lead are dumped in the sea each year.

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