A future without the toxic landfill, thank you

Beautiful landscapes surrounding the Río Tinto labelled as the most Mars-like place on Earth

We are shocked by the events that are happening of late. Whilst we fight this global pandemic together in all the ways that we know how, certain people, public authorities and companies are more concerned with expanding facilities that are devastatingly harmful to our environment. Whilst the population is staying at home responsibly, taking care of loved ones and potentially even fighting for their lives, these same people, in positions of power are taking decisions with high environmental and social impacts, behind your back.

The proposal has just been initiated by the Andalusian government and involves an expansion of the landfill facilities and the construction of an industrial incinerator. Without disclosure during these unprecedented times we feel as though the Andalusian Government has proven to be non-democratic and has taken advantage of the current situation during the midst of a health crisis. We do not stand alone in this.

“End the proposal to extend Nerva’s toxic waste dump.”

Nerva´s toxic waste dump

To date, more than 20 community based organisations from the province of Huelva and state environmental conservation organisations have united online and are working collectively towards an end to the proposal by raising awareness and creating campaigns. To spread one simple message: End the proposal to extend Nerva’s toxic waste dump now. All collaborations are listed below for reference and we would love you to be a part of this too.

Toxic waste produced by fires at Nerva's waste dump

The toxic waste site is situated only 800 meters away from the closest village and during its 25 years in operation, there have been many accidents, fires and illegal spills. There’s an argument to say that it should be closed down permanently; not extended. Unfortunately waste continuously leaks to the nearby river Río Tinto, which flow throughout the province, in turn, spreading the pollution with it. Even the original construction was built under false pretences and the justification that, according to what was thought then, the river was already contaminated so “a little” further pollution would not matter. Let’s be clear. It does.

Today it is known that contrary to that statement more than 25 years ago, any “contamination” that would have been present, was wholly natural. It is produced by the microorganisms that inhabit this very peculiar natural landscape; object of study by none other than NASA. A truly breathtaking, one-of-a-kind site classified as the place resonating Mars more than anywhere else on Earth. We simply have to make better conscious decisions with the information we have today and act accordingly.

“An unnecessary risk that puts people’s health and future in jeopardy”

The peculiar red colour of the Río Tinto

Thanks to research carried about by international organisations, Rio Tinto is considered of high scientific interest and currently holds the status of a Protected Landscape. Environmental conservation organisations have been trying to help Rio Tinto benefit from stricter environmental protection laws and to be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – providing undeniable protection. However, if this landfill expansion takes place, this status will unfortunately almost likely, never be granted.

It is evident that the waste facility and its proposed extension plans, have a negative impact not only on our Rio Tinto, but also on other natural landscapes and protected sites such as the Marismas del Odiel Natural Area, home to hundreds of migratory birds and other incredible wildlife. Furthermore, this type of pollution can have long lasting effects on soil quality, crops and eventually the food that we consume. An unnecessary risk that puts people’s health and future in jeopardy. The damage would simply be irreversible.

“Why must our province continue to pay a much more expensive price?”

There has been continuous fires at Nerva´s landfill

The Andalusian authorities originally promised that the site would only have a 10 year lifespan and it’s primary beneficiaries would be those residing in Huelva, Cádiz and Seville. It currently receives waste from all of Spain, Portugal and Italy. Whilst there’s been a push from ecologists to put an end date to this facility; the public powers have different ideas. We are hoping that environmental and social considerations take priority to the more economical ones. Short term financial gains make no sense in the long run. It’s simply not sustainable and has to change. Why must our province continue to pay a much more expensive price? Our health and environment have to start taking priority.

At ecoHuelva we believe the population is increasingly more conscious of the importance of a sustainable life, so we feel as though it’s a step in the wrong direction to increase or build facilities that obviously constitute a threat to our province - or any other for that matter. There are alternative solutions. Concepts of circular economy, eco-friendly consuming habits among other sustainable practices are becoming more and more embedded in the local population. Many organisations and citizens are choosing to want to live a cleaner, more natural lifestyle in accordance to their environment; not one contaminated with industrial hazardous waste.

Flamencos in Marismas del Odiel Natural Area

To summarise, the entire province has been at home because we are all aware of the importance of still keeping face-to-face meetings to a minimum, but we will undoubtedly get back up, meet again and demand our right to enjoy a clean and dignified environment, both for us, nature and the future of our beautiful Huelva.

Let’s keep Mars on Earth the way it is, please.

The rusty-red river flows from the mountains all the way down to the coast of Huelva

Please sign the petition on change.org if you want to take action and help to end the proposal to extend Nerva's toxic waste dump. Thank you!

Collaborations for reference:

Ecologistas en Acción, Pies en la TIerra, Huelva te mira, XR El Borte, Fridays For Futre Huelva, Asociación Matilde, Mujeres 24H, Sentido Natural, Convivencia Rural Berrocal, CGT Huelva, Asociación MUTI, Plataforma Parque Moret, Asociación Mesa de la Ría, Asociación de Vecinos Aldeas Unidas, Universidad Rural Paulo Freire, Plataforma Serrana Descubriendo el TTIP, Las3Cabras, Fundación Savia, Colectivo GatXs CES Ayamonte, Greenpeace Andalucía, Valdearte Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Medioambiental, Plataforma Antivertedero de Nerva, Asociación Luna, Asisti Cuenca Minera, El Remolino Sociedad Coperativa, Sindicato Unitario de Ayamonte, Otro Maro y Nerja Es Posible, Asociación de Educación Ambiental HADIQA, Asociación Nirvana de Valverde, Sintierra Colectivo, Anticapitalistas Huelva, ecoHuelva

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