Car­bon­eras con­tam­i­na­tion fears

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists call for gov­ern­ment ac­tion to re­duce emis­sions amid alarm­ing re­port on global pol­lu­tion

Costa Almería News - - News -

By Emma Ran­dle Res­i­dents in Car­bon­eras are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly wor­ried about ex­po­sure to con­tam­i­na­tion gen­er­ated by the town’s in­dus­trial es­tate, ac­cord­ing to ecol­o­gists.

En­vi­ron­men­tal as­so­ci­a­tion Ecol­o­gis­tas en Ac­ción (EA) says Car­bon­eras res­i­dents are “tired of putting up with high pol­lu­tion” with­out any ac­tion be­ing taken to stop it, af­ter col­lect­ing views to lobby the re­gional en­vi­ron­ment depart­ment.

The town, on the edge of the Cabo de Gata na­ture park, is home to a ce­ment fac­tory, a ther­mal elec­tric­ity plant, a bio-diesel fac­tory and a de­sali­na­tion plant, all of which emit con­tam­i­nants ei­ther into the at­mos­phere or the sea.

How­ever, the most wor­ry­ing as­pect for res­i­dents, ac­cord­ing to EA, is air pol­lu­tion pro­duced prin­ci­pally by the burn­ing of toxic ma­te­ri­als at the ce­ment fac­tory, the burn­ing of car­bon at the coal-fired power sta­tion – one of Europe’s worst pol­lut­ing in­stal­la­tions, ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous in­de­pen­dent stud­ies - and the emis­sion of par­tic­u­lates.

EA is ap­peal­ing to the re­gional gov­ern­ment to take spe­cific steps to re­duce con­tam­i­na­tion and im­prove air qual­ity by cov­er­ing over the car­bon stor­age area at the power plant, in­stalling new air qual­ity mea­sur­ing sta­tions and de­vel­op­ing a new clean air plan.

It is also seek­ing a study on the in­ci­dence of air pol­lu­tion-re­lated dis­eases in the area.

The sit­u­a­tion at Car­bon­eras is how­ever only part of a big­ger pic­ture of per­va­sive global air pol­lu­tion.

An an­nual EA re­port pub­lished this sum­mer re­vealed that the en­tire pop­u­la­tion of An­dalucía breathed in con­tam­i­nated air in 2016. It said air pol­lu­tion lev­els ex­ceeded World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­men­da­tions in vir­tu­ally the whole of the re­gion, mea­sured at 86 dif­fer­ent points.

Mean­while, a re­cent re­port com­mis­sioned by The Lancet med­i­cal jour­nal con­cluded that pol­lu­tion is killing “mil­lions of peo­ple a year” and that the world is reach­ing “cri­sis point”.

It said that glob­ally nine mil­lion peo­ple died in 2015 as a re­sult of air pol­lu­tion and that it is re­spon­si­ble for around 50,000 deaths a year in the UK.

The find­ings were from a two-year pro­ject in­volv­ing more than 40 in­ter­na­tional re­searchers. Air pol­lu­tion from fac­to­ries and ve­hi­cles is re­spon­si­ble for killing around 6.5 mil­lion peo­ple a year, but con­tam­i­na­tion is also found in wa­ter and else­where, the re­port said.

Cam­paign­ers across the world are call­ing on gov­ern­ments to re­duce air pol­lu­tion by com­mit­ting to clean air mea­sures such as tax­ing diesel ve­hi­cles.

How­ever, as UK group Clien­tEarth points out, they are faced with “per­sis­tent gov­ern­ment fail­ure to take ef­fec­tive ac­tion”.

Car­bon­eras ther­mal power sta­tion burns car­bon

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