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  • ESG Radio Broadcast 25th July 2013

    ESG Radio Broadcast 25th July 2013

    We missed our usual slot last Thursday due to the Bermuda games coverage. Clearly a few issues have been on our minds recently and we have issued various press statements to give these the profile we believe they deserve.

    One such item relates to the company known as “Nature” whose tank exploded two years ago and an issue that remains embroiled in court proceedings over culpability. The company has announced it is planning to apply to the DPC to re-establish new storage tanks for waste oil at the same site. The ESG considers this is premature at best, and a disgrace given the matter of compensation to the family of the deceased worker remains unresolved.

    Obviously Western Beach has also been in sharp focus as recent high pollution readings leading to beach closure only to re-open very soon after, without any details being released officially as to the cause of the pollution spike, was of concern to us.

    This is why we called and continue to recommend beach closure. It is an unpredictable situation with a storm drain outlet from Spain over which we have no control. Only last weekend we were sent a detailed report by a western beach user who had contracted an infection in a healing wound after swimming at the beach on the day that showed the highest pollution reading on the Environmental Agency Website. We are waiting to see what the official Government response to our public statement on this is and if the beach will be closed.

    Moving on to issues of litter and air pollution: As more and more of us spend time outdoors, we see more litter appear around Gibraltar. There is no doubt that Master Services is working hard in ever more locations to remove the dregs and evidence of late night revelry, but it continues to shock nevertheless when one is confronted by this thoughtless, careless behaviour.

    Our surveys so far for this years clean up have confirmed that our efforts are again needed in various areas. With the help of the Gib Defence Police we reccied Seven Sisters, a site only accessible by boat and found significant amounts of marine debris washed ashore. Other areas such as the back of the stadium, a popular canoe area, sees the waterfront bathed in loads of plastic and other rubbish –the old Garrison Gym, another clean up site, is now gathering all types of rubbish, right on the roadside!! The top of Jumpers Bastion is a real eye-sore- with old netting barely hiding the mounting litter and general state of dereliction on a main road – many new hotspots especially in urban areas like car parks are linked to the intense tobacco smuggling going on in Gibraltar today- we all witness this – the rubbish generated is astounding, needs to be tackled somehow.

    Interested volunteers, please email esg@gibtelecom.net to register for 21st September Clean Up, thanks!

    We move now to air pollution. The south district is a busy area at present, GibDock handling several vessels back to back, even seen the Sunborn, moving out perhaps to allow other jobs to be done! No doubt the cleaning and spraying of these vessels is taking its toll on the air quality in the area, as well as likely noise pollution. The power stations can also be seen emitting very heavy emissions from time to time, these more acute in hot weather with little wind. If fumes persist you should call the official hotline number and report the incident. See items on our news section on home page for hotline numbers as well as links to Govt documents on their plans to tackle these chronic issues in Gibraltar. Make a note the next DPC meeting will be held on the 7th August at 9am at the John Mackintosh Hall.

    You can also join the ESG and we can keep you up to date with local and regional environmental issues.

    Hotline numbers and emails for pollution and litter reports






    DAYTIME 200-65964



    Kindlysend the ESG a copy of your report at:


    Gib Environmental Action & Management Plan

    You can find Gibraltar’s “Environmental Action & Management Plan 2013” at:


    The ESG was consulted and we contributed extensively towards the drafting of this document. While we generally welcome this revised document there remain a few issues where we would like to see more action.

    We shall be publishing our revised Wish List (see 2011 details on home page) this summer.

    Western Beach and Public Health issues 220713

    Given the ongoing, general low standard of water quality at Western beach, the ESG renews its call for beach closure until such time as samples are collecting clear for a period of time and until all sources of potential contamination in this area are resolved.

    Members of the public are regularly in contact with us sharing their concerns over the situation and the ongoing uncertainty. The readings on the Environmental Agency show continued pollution at the beach.

    One member of the public also confirmed to us over the weekend that her son, while going through post op recovery, happened to swim at Western Beach during the time of its highest recorded sewage pollution in recent times (10th July) although the beach was declared open and fit for bathing on the day, and contracted a serious infection via his wound. This was confirmed at St Bernard’s as having been caused by faecal bacteria. The young man is now requiring high dose of antibiotics with swelling in the ankle leading to the need once again of the use of crutches. The family feel very aggrieved that the beach was officially declared safe and open for bathing on that day.

    Although Government is taking additional readings and providing information to the public over and above legal requirements, it’s clear that the time delay in obtaining results under the present system means people do not know – at the time of bathing – what exactly they are bathing in.

    Soon after the spike on the 10th July which led to beach closure, the beach was re-opened as further samples showed a marked decrease in pollution levels. However pollution persists in the area and is slowly increasing as demonstrated by the agencies sampling information posted online.

    Given this situation the ESG repeats its call for the beach to be closed in order to ensure that public health is protected.

    HMS Tireless in Gibraltar calls for clarification

    Clarification needed on latest HMS Tireless visit to the Rock

    Thursday July 18th 2013

    The ESG questions the presence of HMS Tireless in Gibraltar today, a submarine that historically has created much unrest and controversy in the area. The lengthy repairs to this submarine, back in the year 2000, were also the catalyst for the formation of the ESG, then known as “Concerned Citizens”. The group now addresses a wide range of local and regional environmental issues.

    While the public protests against repairs to HMS Tireless took place on both sides of the border, these have to be seen against public unease over the regular presence at the time, of these nuclear, armed vessels in Gibraltar.

    The Concerned Citizens Campaign called for repairs to the submarine to be carried out in an appropriate facility as well as wanting full disclosure on the potential risk posed to our community by the planned repairs. The group, with the support of Hassan’s International Law Firm, engaged the assistance of a world renowned Nuclear Physicist Dr Frank Barnaby (see below), to ensure that at every step of the way, the campaign was run responsibly.

    The appearance of HMS Tireless in our port this week, soon after it experienced recent reactor coolant water problems, according to local and UK press, as well as being the year it faces decommissioning due to its age, calls for immediate clarification and affirmation of the precise nature of its visit. The ESG calls upon the Gibraltar Government to publicly advise the community of these details as soon as possible.

    In any event the group states that it strongly objects to the presence of any nuclear propelled submarine berthing at the naval base since these pose a potential danger should there be a nuclear incident.

    Bibliography on Frank Barnaby

    Frank Charles Barnaby is Nuclear Issues Consultant to the Oxford Research Group, a freelance defence analyst, and a prolific author on military technology, based in the UK. Barnaby trained as a nuclear physicist and worked at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston, between 1951 and 1957. He was on the senior scientific staff of the Medical Research Council (UK) when a university lecturer at University College London (1957–67). Barnaby was Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) from 1971-81. He was a Professor at the VU University Amsterdam 1981-85, and awarded the Harold Stassen Chair of International Relations at the University of Minnesota in 1985.

    ESG against possible Nature application calling it premature -July 16th 2013

    “The ESG believes it was only a matter of time before Nature sought to resume its operations at the Western Arm. However, and without being in possession of all the facts of this case, the groups states that in its opinion, it believes that Nature’s application should not be considered at the present time.

    With a pending court case, which has still not been settled in order to apportion blame and ensure some form of recompense from the parties responsible, to the devastated family of the deceased contract worker; this renewed application is at best premature, at worst a disgrace.

    It is hoped that the DPC will not accept any application for consideration from Nature to do with new Sullage Tanks until the legal aspect of the explosion at the old Tank site, which led to heavy air and water pollution, as well as the death of a contract worker, is finally resolved.

    The group adds, “We hope that if the Sullage Tanks are to be re-established on the Western Arm, that the contract for this will go out to tender so that other responsible international companies can also apply for this project in order to ensure the latest and best available technology is used.”

    ESG concerns grow over Western Beach – mid July 2013

    “The ESG urges Government to consider permanently closing Western Beach for bathing given the increase in sewage pollution from Spain in the past week. This breakthrough effluence is unprecedented given there has been no rainfall in the area. It suggests that the pollution will be impossible to predict and therefore manage safely. While welcoming the visible efforts by the Environmental Agency and Ministry for the Environment to monitor the area and keep the public fully informed, the erratic nature of the contamination should, in the group’s opinion, result in beach closure and certainly until investigations into the July episodes have taken place. Furthermore the time lag between sample taking and results means that bathers do not actually know the pollution levels present in the waters at the time of bathing.

    The ESG welcomes the tender notice by Government to invite bidders to construct our own wastewater treatment plant (dated 28th June). The group hopes that as with the Power Station, the wastewater plant will be handled as a priority.

    A major campaign was undertaken by the ESG, beachgoers and MEP Sir Graham Watson when the illegal pipe works first appeared near Western beach. This took the form of protests, petitions and an official complaint. However, while the EU listened with some sympathy, its hard-line response was to direct us to our own sewage management.

    Its clear that no amount of cross border pressure can resolve this problem until our own house is in order on this matter. Once done the EU should have no excuse but to strictly enforce its laws against the Spanish Government on wastewater treatment compliance. There are several well known sewage pollution hotspots in the Spanish towns in the Bay area and these must be addressed.”