Five tons of dead fish and crustaceans have washed the sea over the last ten days to the shores of the Mar Menor Lagoon, located southeast of the Spanish Autonomous Community of Murcia.
According to scientists, pollution due to intensive agriculture is gradually leading to the destruction of the underwater life of this once tourist paradise.
Regional officials said on Monday that they had removed four and a half to five tons of dead animals from the coast, but that a huge number of sea creatures were still dying there.
The number of dead animals can be doubled
“It’s a terrible situation,” said Pedro García, director of the ANSE regional conservation organization, who feared that the number of dead animals could be double the number published by the authorities.
Experts claim that the fish suffocated due to lack of oxygen caused by hundreds of tons of nitrates from fertilizers leaking into the water. Water full of nitrates has been flowing into the lagoon for years, causing a huge increase in algae, which reduces the amount of oxygen in the water when it dies and decomposes.
The minister criticized the regional government
During a visit to the lagoon on Wednesday, Spanish Environment Minister Teresa Riber accused the regional government of turning a blind eye to the negligence of its farmers in Campo de Cartagena, a large area of intensive agriculture that has grown tenfold in the last 40 years.
However, farmers are defending themselves and claiming that they are strictly complying with environmental legislation.
The Mar Menor is one of Europe’s largest saltwater lagoons. This 135-square-meter lagoon is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a narrow strip of land 22 kilometers long.
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