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  • ESG Radio Newsletter 19th April 2012

    ESG Radio newsletter 19th April 2012

    • We start with a reminder to all that Western Beach remains closed to the public as long as official water testing confirms unsafe levels of sewage contamination present – which is still the case and placing this attractive and safe bathing area out of bounds to our community. Families have been using this beach recently in hot weather exposing tiny children to the risk of picking up potentially serious infection. Govt is adamant that the beach is closed but there is no barrier in place only a small sign which is easy to miss as you walk on to the beach. We shall be calling upon Govt to discuss this further. In recent exchanges of correspondence with the EU we can advise that this matter is being actively pursued in Brussels but progress is unacceptably slow and we shall be holding a meeting with all concerned shortly to review what else can be done about this

    • Govt has issued a press statement this week on activity taking place over the next few weeks at the Nature Port Plant which exploded last year. The tanks are to be cleaned and we presume removed and we would also like to urge those listening to be conscious of the fumes produced during the cleaning process, which we are told will be done as carefully as possible. However if any issues arise from this please get in touch by calling 200-48996 or 54960000

    • A reminder that the next public meeting of the Development and Planning Commission will be held next Thursday the 26th April at 9.30am at the Charles Hunt Room at the John Mackintosh Hall. The agenda is usually published by the Town Planners a few days beforehand so make sure you check it carefully in case there is any item of particular interest or concern to you. You will find this at: gibraltar.gov.gi/dpc

    • Interesting to hear about the CEPSA Oil Refinery Exercise this week to test its oil spill response capabilities at sea. It is welcome to hear that such practices are now being carried out by an industry that has repeatedly ignored most environmental regulations and best practice for the past few decades! Another development of interest in the Campo area was the recent publication of a Junta de Andalucía funded report on cancer and mortality data for the Campo area. We are currently assessing this report along with Spanish groups and our expert advisers and will be sharing our conclusions as soon as possible

    • It’s difficult not to comment on the potential resolution of the fishing dispute which is currently ongoing. While cynics may doubt that this is a worthy battle with a fruitful outcome, the recent discussions on EU compensation on lost earnings may yet provide a solution. We still need to be starkly aware that the wider marine environment and fishing practises inside and out of the EU is a frightening scenario of unsustainable raping of the worlds fish stocks. We simply shift the problem somewhere else. Of course we support the need to protect our marine environment and hope that it will be resolved positively

    • We are pleased to note the recent actions taken by the Ministry for the Environment and his team to improve Gibraltar’s environmental performance. As we approach World Earth Day 2012, which we hope to recognise with a mini clean up, and where the local branch of FOE have been urging individuals to be more mindful of our own actions, Govt has launched a long awaited awareness drive on recycling via television adverts to encourage the public to make use of the recycling facilities on the Rock. Details of bin locations are posted by the ESG for some years now on the telephone Directory “About Gibraltar” section but you can of course find out more details directly from Govt departments.

    • Saturday’s Chronicle carried a detailed article on Gibraltar’s energy production and power stations where we highlighted our concerns about the present situation in response to questions by the paper. We shall be issuing a statement soon on energy matters on the Rock

    • Finally you can keep up to date with key environmental developments in Gibraltar and the bay area by logging on to esg-gib.net – and if you missed hearing this entire broadcast you can read it in full online on our website! Thanks for listening

    Chronicle on Gib Energy Issues April 2012

    Check out following link which is an article on Gibraltar’s situation regarding energy production


    Updated Flickr Page

    Visit our Photographic Library accessible via the flickr link, bottom left on our Home Page.
    Recent environmental pictures taken have now been posted -you are free to use only plse acknowledge ESG ©.


    ESG team

    Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean

    A report published in the Science for Environment Policy April 2012 discusses the impacts on Marine and Coastal Environments in the Mediterranean from Offshore Exploration and Exploitation.
    ESG comment:
    It is a seven page highly readable document which gives a stark warning about the implications from this type of exploration for our marine environment already under threat from industrial pollution, shipping/bunkering and over fishing. The Bay ecosystem is part of the wider Mediterranean and is also threatened by increasing industrial activity in this region.
    This writer can reveal that on a recent visit up the south western coast of the Iberian Peninsula an offshore oil rig was seen in the Strait and explosions could be heard throughout a short stay in the area during the Easter weekend.

    This report, providing a lot of detail and research behind what is going on in the far distance hidden from view and unknown to most of us, is therefore a timely paper to help us understand this latest potential hazard to our marine environment.

    Please read and fwd link to your contacts


    As examples of direct impacts on marine environments from such explorative practices the report mentions:

    Death of a wide variety of marine species
    Behavioural disturbances, including changes in feeding, reproduction and migration
    Airborne emissions of chemicals from controlled burns
    Microbial blooms
    Hypoxia -lowering of oxygen concentrations in water
    Toxic effects of chemicals used to disperse oil”

    The report also states that “many of the impacts of offshore activities on marine environments are uncertain, due to the complex interactions between many different species within marine ecosystems and difficulties associated with conducting research at depth.”

    Also of concern and mentioned in the report is the following:

    “Oil spills are not the only potential hazards posed by offshore oil and gas activities. Other important considerations are:-

    Seafloor and geological disturbances caused by explosions and drilling
    Drill cuttings (barium rich drilling by-products deposited on the seabed)
    Produced water (seawater mixed with oil)

    See also map lifted from report highlighting what is believed to be oil spills detected from satellite – very disturbing picture is being painted here and one that demands responsible and well managed resource appropriation and a major global drive to move developed nations towards renewable energy use and maximum recycling drives.

    Map represents possible oil spills detected in the Mediterranean offshore environment by satellite imaging (1999-2004), from both ships and offshore installations as an indication of the scale of existing oil pollution.
    Full map can be found on page 4 of report along with a multitude of references and other important information on this critical issue.


    Western Beach 9th April the pretty picture belies the filth beneath the surface

    The public is reminded that Western Beach continues closed due to faecal contamination from la Linea which carries sewage from estates which are illegally connected to a storm drain pointing towards Western Beach. While efforts are being made by the ESG and MEP’s to see this situation resolved once and for all the fact remains that swimming off this beach could affect your health and that of others if infection develops.

    Government has officially closed this beach until further notice and the ESG urges the public to avoid using the beach and safeguard the health of their families.

    Picture here emphasises the importance of keeping the most vulnerable AWAY from this pollution – picture taken Monday 9th April on a hot sunny day with recent water sample data (latest available and pre-rains is of the 3rd April showing levels of sewage to be illegal and over the safety limit. Rain creates more sewage outflow and fairly heavy rainfall was experienced in the area post 3rd April)

    Check out Environmental Agency website for latest on water quality:-




    050412 ESG Radio Newsletter

    ESG Radio Newsletter 5th April 2012

    Hello again-

    Earth Hour 2012
    Against a growing number of environmental news stories becoming a more regular feature in our day to day lives, I thought I would start by briefly revisiting Earth Hour which took place last Saturday. Gibraltar supported the event which, at a global level, was a major success with accounts on the EarthHour.org website of major corporations in the States taking collective action to entire countries in Asia participating in their thousands, clearly illustrating the appeal that this simple, yet inspiring campaign is having around the world. As an environmental group we call attention to this campaign as it reminds us all of the need to value the huge benefits of having energy online, how this has transformed our lives, the impact this is having on climate change and how we all need to shift our 2012 status onto a more sustainable footing.

    How we achieve this is by paying attention to our personal impact and as a community to set in motion concrete steps to reduce our carbon footprint and embrace greener technologies and practices. Through a number of mtgs we have held to date with both Ministers and technical advisers to Govt, we know these issues are high on agendas. What we now need is for a time frame and detailed information to be made publicly available so that the community is informed of the positive actions Gibraltar will be taking shortly towards the road of sustainability. We shall certainly be watching this very closely.

    Power Station PollutionOne of the issues which we face from members of the public on a daily basis and which we are taking up with Govt is the intolerable and illegal levels of pollution from the power stations. This, possibly, above all, is the main driver for the urgency the new Govt faces in deciding the alternatives to a new fossil fuelled power station which it cancelled. The ESG is writing to Govt requesting for interim action to be taken to reduce air pollution. This was a condition placed on the permit issued to OESCO back in 2007 to allow it to operate under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive. It called for scrubbers and taller stacks to help reduce and aid dispersal of toxic emissions away from residential areas. This important measure was never enforced because of the advised completion date of the new power station, then at 2010. Here almost halfway through 2012 and emissions are worse and growing. Something needs to be done, and done soon.

    MEP Sir Graham Watson visits Gibraltar
    The local press has reported on MEP Graham Watson’s recent visit to Gibraltar. The ESG held a meeting with Sir Watson and discussed matters of concern to our group which includes Western Beach and the European Commission, the massive Fuel Tank Farm in Algeciras, Sea Bed raking and the CEPSA Oil Refinery. We settled on a number of proposed actions for the next few months. As always, extremely grateful to Sir Watson for the hard work he carries out for us in Brussels.

    Fishing issues
    While highly mindful of the sensitivities of the current discussions on enforcement of the Nature Protection Act in Gibraltar, we reiterate our support to all those involved directly in seeking to improve the situation to protect our marine ecosystems. We are concerned, however, that at a European level, waters are rather muddied, if you’ll excuse the pun. While seeking to protect our own environment, the EC is giving out permits to Spanish fishermen within Andalucía to proceed to rake seabeds outside of the limit zones it itself has set to ensure survivability of marine species…… This is a story we focused on in a recent press release which you can find on our website, and it strongly highlights the need for MEP’s like Sir Graham Watson to help fight these battles in Brussels.

    Clean up the World will shortly be launching its 2012 campaign. We are holding back contacting teams and sponsors until such time as we are fully briefed by the global organisers. We should have this information available for our next radio broadcast but you are most welcome to register with us in the meantime. Email: esg@gibtelecom.net, tel: 200-48996 or mobile 54960000.

    Have a good Easter break with loved ones and be mindful of our wonderful environment.