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    An online petition has been set up to collect signatures over the new sewage contamination off Western Beach- This pollution has led to the recent closure of this lovely beach which is also used during the winter for picnics etc. The MoD Sailing Club has also closed and canoeists and paddlers have advised the ESG that its impossible to enjoy their sport in this part of Gibraltars coastline-

    If it was only about recreation you would think it was a storm in a tea cup- BUT! the levels of fecal matter picked up by sampling by the Environmental Agency at a public beach are so high that it demands that action has to be taken. The cross border nature of this issue of course presents additional problems. The wider situation seems to indicate that la Linea is unable to cope with its sewage disposal and management and clearly needs to add capacity to its treatment of sewage.

    Sewage discharge from the Spanish town is also taking place on the eastern side (evidence of this available on LaLineaDigital online) and this raw effluence presents a serious risk to public health.

    The ESG will lend support to the campaigners to try and find a solution to this specific issue- We also consider it critical that all the towns in the Bay, including Gibraltar, comply with Directive Requirements on Sewage treatment and set up proper facilities without further delay.

    Go to: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no_to_sewage_at_sea/


    ESG Press Release 15th October 2010


    It’s absolutely staggering that we are informed via the local press that we, as citizens, are now facing increased air and noise pollution as well as a hike in personal costs with regards to electricity production in Gibraltar. The ESG considers this development as an outrage, especially as no investment in environmental protection has been mentioned and the operator should be expected to bear at least part of the increased costs of production out of its operating profits and not just pass it on to the consumer.

    For readers who may not know, it seems that the predicted increase in energy demand, which has been common knowledge for years, cannot be met by existing, highly polluting generation and requires another short-term measure of additional capacity using an increasingly expensive fuel- Guess what? Costs both in the pocket, health and quality of life are to be borne by us, the citizen. Word in the community is that we could be facing power cuts – is this supposed to pave the way for additional capacity and the extra pollution and costs to be suffered by the taxpayer?

    All of this has been forecast by the ESG, and the urgency for the replacement power station, albeit using old technology, never more apparent than it is today. In 2007 aging industries and practices were to be finally called in under European Law, due to the deadline of the IPPC having arrived. What happened then was that Gibraltar went through the motions of assessing OESCO, as the relevant installation, for necessary compliance to be given a new operating licence. The assessment was fairly damning though and advised that a licence would be issued conditional to various measures being met.

    The conditions with regards to air emissions in particular were never addressed- indeed the ESG was instead given platitudes by Government that with a new power station round the corner, in 2010, it was unreasonable of us to expect either Government or OESCO to fork out for mitigation measures (to clean their act up basically). We were fed assurances that the new Power Station would receive maximum urgency by this Govt.

    Apart from a fumbling judicial review which may have delayed the process for a while, and also ended up costing taxpayers serious monies (we have no details) construction of the replacement plant has not begun in earnest. The ESG asks what is going on?

    The community of Gibraltar deserves better. The ESG demands that Government gives a public statement on exactly what is going on with our energy production and plans for replacement power station and show in this way that it is accountable to the people of Gibraltar.

    We also demand that in this latest expansion to electricity capacity at OESCO that the plant is also made to comply with its IPPC certification which it is not currently doing and ask whether a separate certification will be issued. We also ask that OESCO or whichever company ends up operating the plant should meet the costs of pollution control and at least part of the increase (no doubt from time to time) of operating costs.


    ESG Radio Newsletter Thursday 14th October 2010

    On the cards today are topical issues on the environment which I know many of you follow and are deeply interested in-

    The first is our

      power generation stations and renewable energy

    – where are we going with this in Gibraltar? Last nights Newswatch reported that Govt is now contemplating harnessing wind power as the best option to meet the renewable energy target under EU law, but this to happen some years ahead. For some time now we had understood we needed to meet a percentage imminently – has this changed? Or are we changing plans once again?

    Furthermore, it was regrettable to hear that Govt was not prepared to discuss this issue in public, ie end of story. This is not acceptable. Modern communities, democracies and indeed Freedom of Access to Environmental Information under EU law, demands that any project, plan or activity which has a direct impact on the environment and hence on the citizen, has to be transparent and publicly shared.

    We go further and remind Government that climate change is a critical issue which demands cross party unity and community support and co-operation if we are to successfully meet the challenges ahead- the community therefore needs to be part of the solution and decision making process and should be carefully informed about the intentions of how our authorities plan to steer us towards a cleaner and more responsible future.

    What the message given yesterday suggests is that the present Government has no real intention of acting on renewable energy systems for Gibraltar in the foreseeable future and this is reprehensible. Postponement of such action will place the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of our grandchildren who currently look up to us as their protectors. We are not meeting their expectations rather, continuing in the business as usual mode which is not where we should be.

    On the question of power stations and additional engines and fuel costs- this has absolutely floored us, we cannot believe this latest development and will be releasing a statement outlining our thoughts and position on this tomorrow.

    This last fortnight the ESG received calls and emails from members of the public affected by various activities around the Rock- These complaints are not made lightly and people are usually extremely agitated and upset at the time. Calls are usually about power station fumes, bunkering fumes, sewage smells, noise pollution from 24hr activity etc.

    While we attempt to help the callers by providing information or advising who they should contact, the extent and variety of these problems remind us of the fact that Gibraltar is still waiting for an Action Plan on the Environmental Charter signed by the Gibraltar Government several years ago, which would set out rules and timelines to rein in heavily impacting activities that affect our peace of mind, health and quality of life. Yes, it matters to us all.

    Without such a plan we shall continue to see all these activities grow without adequate restrictions in place- just look at our power stations for example. It must be said that bunkering fumes and noise must also be tackled by our authorities- we refer complainants every week to the Port Authority and Environment Agency- truth is not sufficient feedback is received and no real action taken suggesting that more radical steps are needed. In fact, the only radical news we get is that bunkering industry is to increase!! But where, we ask, are the efforts to reduce environmental impacts from this activity?

    Finally, let’s talk sewage– again on Newswatch last night, the fact that Western Beach is now closed due to sewage pollution which we warned would happen back in April-

    This flagrant breach of public health and environmental laws at a cross border level by the Spaniards has to be challenged by our authorities. And if not by citizens. The ESG is hoping to meet with the Chief Minister soon who has assumed responsibility for this issue- and we will then decide how to approach this problem.

    More news soon- thanks for listening-

    www.esg-gib.net esg@gibtelecom.net

    Call us on 200-48996 Mobile 54960000


    ESG Radio Newsletter Thursday 30th September 2010

    Our last fantastic Clean up seems like such a long time ago now!! What a great effort by so many of you supporting an inspiring and active effort at giving something back to our environment. You may be surprised to know that a few teams want to do more areas soon! It’s very rewarding to transform areas trashed by the thoughtless especially when these areas should be home to nature’s creatures and with this years CUTW theme being Communities Caring for Nature, what better way than focusing our efforts in this way.

    It’s fairly well known now that the Gib Government is responding to our campaign and has pledged to maintain over 30 such green areas from now on- we are obviously delighted about this.

    It still remains a big issue for many of us though that our community should be educated to not littering and dumping in the first place and our campaign focus will seek to tackle the problem more at the source than simply cleaning up each year.

    Watch out for more news soon on how we intend to go about it.

    Other environmental news, well as always, there’s quite a lot going on. With a possible new management authority for our Upper Rock Nature Reserve, to possible expansion of bunkering on the Eastside, issues for the ESG keep cropping up – such as the dropping of the judicial review by Clifftop residents against the proposed new Power Station- this created additional delays to an already critically needed facility – and so good news the legal challenge has been stopped but the ESG regrets the delays and the manner in which Clifftop residents managed to delay the project and then get their legal costs covered by the taxpayer as well as assurances from Govt that noise levels etc. would be controlled.
    As we have said in our press release today, to the many thousands of local residents severely affected by the pollution from our aging and illegal stations, this offers little solace. We urge Govt to simply move ahead and

      prioritise the new power station now.

    One important word on bunkering fumes- the ESG has managed to acquire a 24hr contact number to be called by anyone suffering from what is suspected to be a bunkering fume issue- we urge people to use the number as the port has repeatedly told us that their follow up is only as good as their being able to investigate the problem at the time it is occurring- the number to call is : 56000545 repeat-


    ESG Press Release Friday 1st October 2010


    It has been brought to the ESG’s attention that sewage contamination at Western Beach has once again risen to alarming levels -(See below Env Agency Website Sample Results) – Members of the public were commenting to the ESG that the current situation was far worse this week than anything experienced during the summer – they could even smell faeces on their skin on exiting the water!
    This shocking experience is backed up by levels of Coliforms and E.Coli present in the water at far higher levels than ever recorded before – 54,000 and 10,000 parts per 100ml respectively on the 27th September and lesser so on the following days- The group wishes to state that:
    1. While the Environment Agency’s website advises mandatory and guideline levels for these contaminants its clear that the levels of faecal matter at Western Beach have this week risen to levels which are potentially very harmful to humans
    2. Given the situation and the fact that people swim well past the “bathing season”, it is absolutely incumbent upon our authorities to urgently close off Western Beach to swimming and any other recreational activity
    3. We suspect the source to be a new outflow on the Spanish side of the border although other possible sources have been mentioned. Regardless of the source it is also for Govt to advise of its plan on how it intends to tackle the sewage contamination and act on it.
    4. ESG urges the community to stop using Western Beach until the source of the sewage pollution is identified and eliminated.

    Thank you
    ESG Committee