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  • 25th November Radio Newsletter

    In today’s radio newsletter we wanted to focus on a couple of important local issues concerning our environment-
    the first is to do with traffic and transport issues- It has to be said that there is now a big difference for the motorist in traffic flow improvement at rush hour now that the new
    systems are almost all in place at Trafalgar and the Dudley Ward tunnel now open- However it is regrettable that these projectswere not prioritised and have taken so long to be completed causing great inconvenience to many and a worsening of our general quality of life on a daily basis. However, many of you will also realise now that crossing Trafalgar area is now quite a
    complicated business, it is so for residents, imagine what it’s like for tourists, who, one often sees, taking great risks and clambering over walls to dash across to safety- a perilous situation indeed. – Why was this not considered at the time of road reconstruction? Can we honestly believe that the resultant lights and zebra crossings were deemed to be adequate by the
    engineers concerned? Why wasn’t an underpass or over bridge worked into the system? We need to address this with some urgency, and before someone gets hurt.

    Another issue the ESG will be taking up directly with the Ministry for Transport is Dudley Ward Tunnel itself, the lack of extractor fans which results in a build up of toxic fumes during the day with little dispersal resulting in quite an unhealthy environment to be in. Should one break down, consider walking – which is out I understand, or cycling, the current conditions do not allow for this and must be addressed urgently.

    Govt has publicly called for the need for healthier modes of travel but it needs to support this by providing a safe environment for this to happen.

    It may interest you to know that this evening sees Part Two in a double bill on Viewpoint on the Environment. The last programme focused on Alternative Energy options for Gibraltar ahead of the Energy Symposium which took place recently. Tonight’s programme will be more locally focused discussing issues of air quality,
    cross border issues and many others- Be sure to tune in, the panel includes both the Minister and Shadow Minister for the Environment so it is a chance for you to place questions directly to those accountable for making decisions in this area. Also forming part of the panel will be Dr John Cortes and I. You can email questions directly to viewpoint@gbc.gi
    or call in on 200-79810. This is important; hope the public takes advantage of this opportunity.

    To finish on another issue, yes, you guessed right, sewage– current position is: nothing has changed. Beach remains closed and the campaign is very much alive. The ESG is helping beach users collect signatures and maintain a public presence on this matter via protests, so it doesn’t get forgotten. We do urge everyone to support this campaign- you can sign
    the petition if you haven’t yet done so on Main Street tomorrow lunchtime, and outside Morrison’s on Saturday morning. This petition will be widely used both locally and via our MEP’s in Brussels to help clean up this mess.

    The ESG is holding numerous meetings over the next few weeks at cross border level as well as with No6 on various issues and will be issuing updates in the media.

    2nd Protest at Western Beach SEWAGE

    The second protest against Sewage at Sea which has resulted in the closure of popular Western Beach, took place this Saturday morning. A small but determined group once again protested with a number of placards on view addressing what is a marine and health issue. The campaigners aim to keep protesting alongside collecting the many signatures for a petition that will be handed to both the Chief Minister and MEP’s in Brussels.
    Residents from Western Beach area have also added their voices to the call for action- in a Fact Sheet produced on the day residents say they are very concerned about the sewage they can see and smell almost daily being discharged from a storm drain from la Linea – this is affecting the local children’s ability to play outdoors and residents keeping their windows open due to the very foul smelling air almost constantly in the area now. Residents join the ESG and beach users campaigners in highlighting how we can ill afford to lose this important recreational resource.
    All urge our local authorities to please act on this issue without further delay.

    Radio Newsletter on Thursday 9th November 2010

    Broadcast Thursday 11th 1.10pm on Radio Gibraltar

    First off, and as I speak, there are a couple of campaigners collecting signatures in Main Street during this lunchtime – if you are near the Piazza and would like to sign the petition against sewage at sea, please come along and add your name to this important petition. Some have asked what is the purpose of this petition?, to whom is it addressed?, how will this be used etc.? Well, campaigners feel that the voice of the citizen has to be heard alongside action that has to be taken by authorities. Copies of this petition will be sent to whoever is taken such action against this atrocious situation at an official level.

    For those who don’t yet know it’s regarding the new and very recent contamination of raw sewage coming from a new La Linea storm drain outlet- resulting in the closure of Western Beach – one of our few popular beaches we can ill afford to lose!!

    So please, give a few minutes of your time and come along to the Piazza as from 1.00pm today or if this is not possible, make sure you visit the online petition at: ipetitions.com under Environment section.

    An update to our Clean Up campaign is that during the midterm break a group of enthusiastic youngsters from the Dolphin Youth Club and Duke of Edinburgh, carried out a morning clean up in a beautiful green area near an important tourist site in the Upper Rock. Lots of metal and plastics were removed as well as large piping which required team work and the youngsters proved their mettle by carrying this out with minimal fuss and did a grand job. The ESG was very happy to help provide equipment and advice as well as onsite support and also helped organise the removal of rubbish once the clean up was completed. Thanks to Master Services for their help in this regard and to the Dolphin Youth Club for organising this exercise which was also a fundraising project by the club for GBC Open Day- lots of positives to be taken from this day for local charities and for the environment!!

    Coming to other matters just yesterday saw a Climate Change Conference held in a far off place called Kiribati in the Pacific – more appropriately located this time to help explain the urgency for the need for action by all major world players to take decisions to help reduce global climate change and the very real threat of rising sea levels. A broad agreement called the Ambo Declaration was signed by both vulnerable nations and major players, even China this time, but sadly the UK and USA chose to remain observers- it’s not yet clear why this happened but clearly its not great news!
    When are we humans going to get our act together? While all this globe conferencing is going on the focus clearly remains on a business as usual approach to protect countries earnings and jobs ABOVE ALL ELSE- even though the global climate situation requires us to be collectively changing our ways to secure a comfortable and safe lifestyle for future generations everywhere – we seem incapable of taking such decisions today-

    Indeed tonight’s Viewpoint will be looking at Alternative Energy Options for Gibraltar. Very timely you would think except that we are no closer to embracing such technologies today, than we were 10 years ago! and this, in spite of studies being undertaken and outline commitments written in and out of Govt draft policy to begin harnessing the wealth of renewable and free energy we have at our disposal.. Indeed all our energy is currently produced entirely from fossil fuels in aging and inappropriate installations which are illegal and highly impactful all round-
    The Viewpoint debate will look at these issues and at what technology can do for Gibraltar- it would be great for the public to contribute to the programme which you can do by emailing viewpoint@gbc.gi or calling the number on the screen during the programme-

    You may also be interested to know of an upcoming Energy Symposium organised by the “Gibraltar Group of Professional Engineers” taking place next week on the 18th November at the John Mack Hall from 6 to 8.30pm- the symposium will be looking at energy options for Gibraltar post the oil era in 40 years time!! This 40 year timing will no doubt be hotly debated tonight by the panel that will include: Xavier Pons, James Machin, Gavin Gafan and myself- Be sure to tune in at 9.30pm to GBC Television for the live programme also repeated on Saturday evening!

    All for now!!

    VERDEMAR lodge official complaint with la Junta over La Linea sewage pollution off Western Beach

    Click on link below which is an article in Europa Press of a move by Spanish San Roque Group Verdemar, to lodge an official complaint with la Junta over sewage contamination off Western Beach



    Viewpoint this Thursday discusses “Alternative/Renewable Energy” options for Gibraltar-

    Please tune in and call GBC with your question or point of view –
    you can also email ahead of as well as during the programme- viewpoint@gbc.gi


    Date: Thursday 11th November 2010
    Time: 9.30pm to 10.30pm
    Email address : viewpoint@gbc.gi

    Don’t miss it it should prove to be a very lively debate….

    Next Viewpoint on the 25th November also on the Environment
    but will focus on local issues and impacts.

    ESG Radio Broadcast 28th October 2010

    Today I would like to touch upon a hot topic regarding our local environment. You will have heard or read about in the local papers, the issue of sewage contamination off Western Beach, resulting in the inevitable but necessary closure of this popular recreational area for local citizens.

    Others immediately affected have been the sailing club, canoeists, etc, all who relish the sheltered nature of the waters off Western Beach for their sport and relaxation.

    Clearly there are many issues at stake here. Not least the real threat to public health posed by the extreme levels of faecal matter being dumped unceremoniously into our waters – in this case the calm harbour factor amplifying the impact of this contamination.

    So, what can we do about it? Citizens strongly supported by the ESG, FOE Gib, and the GONHS are doing what they can do by way of organising protests and petitions. This display of civic anger at this development and loss of land and sea use is essential to create public pressure for authorities on both sides of the border to deal with this mess.

    As described by MEP Graham Watson, the mess likely originates from La Linea but it is a cross border problem and we need to tackle this in that spirit.

    We should also accept that all Bay towns are currently in breach of failing to meet Directive 91/271/EEC dated 1993 with objectives of treating sewage waste for populations over a certain size. ALMOST ALL BAY TOWNS qualify for such treatment and almost all of us are in breach – ie breaking the law!!

    In the Tripartite Process, the Environmental NGO’s include the need for urgent compliance with sewage treatment as the problem is much wider than Western Beach- throughout Europe, there are numerous examples of such non-compliance which really makes you wonder about the viability of the Commission Process itself???? Where is enforcement?

    What we know we need to do is deal with the immediate crisis and use this opportunity to ensure that Spain and Gibraltar invest in adequate sewage treatment facilities that will avoid releasing such overflow into communal and recreational zones. Lord knows Gibraltar is small enough as it is without our being further restricted from safely using some of our land or sea areas. For Western Beach the outflow should be stopped at once- and, if as suspected, it is La Linea responsible, it must be made to divert sewage into Spanish open waters as an urgent priority-

    The ESG is currently compiling a dossier with information on this issue and intends to make this available to the Tripartite Forum as well as the MEP’s representing Gibraltar in Europe.

    Meanwhile what you can do if interested is sign our online petition at: : http://www.petitions.com/petition/no_to_sewage_at_sea/

    We also call upon you to forward this link to your friends and colleagues- kindly note we shall also be collecting signatures in Main Street and Morrison’s Supermarket during the next few weeks.

    A second protest is already being organised for the 20th November which is a Saturday at 10.00am- we hope you will come along and show your support. Call ESG on 54960000 or Beach Users on 56800000 if you have any questions on this issue.

    Follow this link if you want to know what levels of contamination are present at western Beach: http://www.environmental-agency.gi/beachresult.php?beachid=6

    PLEASE NOTE Signature collections continue today Tuesday 9th november from 1.00pm onwards outside Morrison’s