Two Workers Still Missing after being swallowed up at Landfill Site in Northern Spain

Three weeks ago a mountain of waste from the Zaldibar landfill at ( Vizcaya ) bled onto the AP-8 highway that connects San Sebastián with Bilbao.

The two installation workers – Joaquin Beltran and Alberto Sololuze – remain buried under a mountain of garbage, the families of the men are “beyond reconciliation” according to local sources.

The area around the landfill site is still on alert because of the risk of new landslides caused by Methane Gas leaching through the thousands of tons of soil and waste. The fires on the site continue as Ecologists and several workers denounce the irregularities of the Zaldibar landfill company.

After the collapse, a mass of irregularities and errors at all levels and failures in administrative controls were uncovered.

This has given rise to an unprecedented environmental disaster in the Basque Country and a major political crisis due to the controversial management of the Government over the crisis.

Julen Rekondo , technical director of the Ingurune environmental consultant said:

“The company is responsible for what happened, but there has been negligence in the control of the landfill itself by the Administration”

“The reality is that the company dropped its prices, with rates half that of other Basque landfills, which made this site receive a multitude of waste from all points of Euskadi regardless of the distance from the point of origin and despite the existence of other garbage dumps much closer. In addition, carriers carrying trash in their trucks to the facility have reported that all types of waste were dumped without any control and bypassing inspections.”

“The company has earned tens of millions of euros,” says Carlos Pérez Olozaga, director of the Plus 55 Environmental Awareness Workshop in San Sebastián and former Head of the Environment Department of the Guipúzcoa Provincial Council.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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