SOS Hug Around The Mar Menor Spurs Action To Stem Pollution

Thousands of residents have come out this weekend to give a symbolic hug around the Mar Menor, demanding that Spain´s largest inner sea is saved from further environmental pollution.

The demonstration attempted to complete a 73-kilometre-long human chain to “hug” the inner coastline of the salt water lagoon in a bid to address what many environmentalists are calling a toxic castastrophe.
The 135 sq km saltwater lagoon is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a 22 km sandbar, which at its widest, is just 200 metres.
Last week local authorities announced an extention of a ban on the use of farming inorganic nitrogen fertilisers within 1,500 metres of the lagoon.
Residents and environmentalists alike are blaming farmers for turning the “paradise lagoon” into a toxic wasteland.
It is estmated that around 5 tons of toxic fertiliser ends up in the lagoon each day.

Spain’s Environment Minister Teresa Ribera accused the Murcian regional government of having turned a blind eye to farming irregularities in the Campo de Cartagena, an area which houses a vast number of intensive fruit and vegetable farms.

‘There is no room for complacency,’ she told reporters, indicating that 8,000 hectares of land lacked ‘adequate irrigation rights’ and were ‘illegally extracting water or using a quantity far above their allocation’.


The weekend protest included Mario Perez, the mayor of Los Alcazares as well as the mayor of Murcia, Jose Antonio Serrano.

Serrano said that: “We already support the ILP from the City Council of Murcia, because there has been a historical and eternal symbiosis between the municipality and the Mar Menor that has been passed down through the generations, because it belongs to everyone,”

“Also to those who have not yet been born, so we have to put all our eggs in the basket so that this unique lagoon in the world can be preserved with all the beauty and splendour it has always had, so we will support all initiatives to improve its environment.”