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Greenpeace alerts that 89% of non-protected seashores in Catalonia have buildings

According to a Greenpeace study, the situation of the Catalan coast is delicate. Not considering the already protected shores, 89% have the presence of buildings.

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19 July 2010 07:10 PM

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ACN
Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan seashore which is not protected under the law is at risk, according to a study from Greenpeace. The study shows that 89% of the non-protected coast has a significant presence of buildings and 46.5% has urban areas. Catalonia is the community with the highest rate of saturation on its coast, according to the environmental NGO. Greenpeace presented their report entitled ‘A tota costa’ (‘At every coast’), affirming that the situation has not improved in the last decade. They are campaigning to stop coastal construction and invest more in coastal preservation.
The Catalan coast, and the Spanish coast in general, are finding themselves in a more dangerous situation each year. This is the result of a study performed by Greenpeace on the conditions of the coasts. During the last two decades, constructions of infrastructures and contamination have destroyed the Spanish coast at an amount equivalent to 8 football fields a day.

In the case of Catalonia, the situation is not any more hopeful. Almost all of its shores are developed and about half are urbanised. In addition, marinas exist at every 10 kilometres which erode the beaches and damage the ecosystems of marine life with their artificial infrastructures. In total, there are 47 marinas in Catalonia and a new one is being built in Tarragona, which Greenpeace has criticised.

The delegate of Greenpeace in Catalonia, Ana Rose Martínez, explained that the province that is most damaged is Tarragona because of the presence of chemical and petrochemical industries. In second place for most damaged coast is Els Muntanyans and in 3rd is the expansion project of Coma-Ruga’s marina, which might endanger marine biodiversity in the zone.

Contamination and the petrochemical industry of Tarragona

The Catalan community accumulates 42% of the pollution that spills directly into the Mediterranean coast of Spain. The person responsible for campaigns of contamination in Greenpeace, Julio Barea, explained that the most problematic zones are the river of Besòs and Llobregat, the Delta de l’Ebre, and the chemical and petrochemical sector of Tarragona.

This zone in Tarragona has given consent to the construction of 2 new oil wells requested by the oil company Repsol. This construction could produce a similar incident to the current disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil has been spilling for over two months. “It is not discardable that this could happen on the Catalan coast”, he assured. However, the magnitude would be much smaller since the oil quantities are not at all comparable.

In addition, he has informed that they are studying 2 recent oil spills in order to better know what happened so that they can demand accountability to those responsible. He pushed for the removal of these “barriers” to bring the nature of the coasts back to life.

In the face of this situation on the coast, Greenpeace has asked administrations to believe in coastal preservation. They have also asked that they discontinue their beliefs in a construction based model and that they enforce the coastal sustainability law that was talked about in 2004 but has been put “in a drawer”.

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  • Image of the coastal urban development near Sitges

  • Image of the coastal urban development near Sitges