‘Potential ecological disaster’ – Concerns over high amount of waste on Nerja’s coast

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS have expressed concern over the reported high amount of waste found on the seabed off Nerja’s coast.

A recent study by the Guardia Civil’s environment section, Seprona, suggests there could be up to nine tone of baby wipes alone accumulating 50 metres under water.

Organisation Ecologistas in Accion Andalucia sent a boat of scientists out with police over five days to comb the seabed and say they what they found constitutes, “a potential environmental disaster.”

The Public Prosecutor’s Office and Guardia Civil’s environmental protection arm (Seprona) are currently investigating the claims under ‘Operation Vastum,’ following complaints from Ecologistas in Accion Andalucia in 2017. 

The environmental group had claimed there were, “serious irregularities,” with the urban wastewater being pumped untreated into the sea in Nerja.

A representative from the group, Antonio Amarillo, told Spanish media: “[The waste] ranges from the infamous wipes to ear buds, faeces, detergents, drugs and oils. That is to say, everything that people throw down the toiletat their houses goes to the coast. [There is] also waste from the activities carried out in industrial estates or companies locally.”

Amarillo’s colleague, Rafael Yus, explained the waste can harm marine fauna in the protected ecosystem, as well as causing potential problems for humans. 

He said some bacteria in faeces is capable of speading diseases including dysentery.

At Nerja Council, politicians have also expressed concerns over the issue, with Izquierda Unida councillor Anabel Iranzo and EVA Podemos representative Cristina Fernandez reportedly considering the Junta de Andalucia responsible. 

The town’s mayor, Rosa Arrabal, is said to share their view and has warned the situation must change.

Locals are quick to point out Nerja’s beaches are still clean, however. Jose Miguel Ortuño, head of one of the town’s residents associations, told Spanish media: “Every morning I walk along them and enjoy the transparent water. There are no remains floating in the water day to day.”

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