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  • ESG Newsletter 6th February 2014

    Environmental news today covers old and new issues, which affect Gibraltar and the region. At the last DPC meeting, for example, and on planning matters, facing a group of protesters to the Marriott hotel project as it stands, decision was taken to defer under the chair’s advice that a major project such as that proposed by the Marriott applicant should aim to work with the community it intends to live among. Back to the drawing board to revise design and scale. Next DPC meeting will be held at the end of February with the agenda published a week beforehand and found on the Town Planning website.

    At a recent Litter Committee meeting the ESG presented a detailed report on last year’s Clean up the world action. Outlining ongoing issues at various sites, the report reflects a dynamic campaign that highlights problems we need to solve together as a community, both in cleaning, prevention and behavioural issues. Enforcement is a big and difficult issue that a nation our size seems reluctant to embrace even though steps are being taken by the authorities to train and license more of its employees to fine litterers and fly tippers. The ESG believes the Clean Up campaign has also achieved great dividends for Gibraltar with the report also celebrating the significant gains for Rosia Bay’s waters after a concentrated effort by the largest diving team we have had to date as well as energetic ground crews to help remove waste pulled up by divers. A summarised version of the Clean Up Report in this area and many others will be found on our website this week – esg-gib.net.

    It is hoped that a report from the Litter Committee outlining the many measures being taken by Govt and agencies to improve Gibraltar’s physical environment on litter and waste management will also be issued forthwith.

    We recently went public with our concerns about the mother fuel ship coming to the detached mole heralding the start of a discussion for a “land-based” fuel supply for barges that service international maritime traffic. We are not advocating “no business”, simply best practice. Our press release is published on our website and we continue to hold talks with government ministries and the port about future plans for what is clearly an important business for Gibraltar. More information on this will be released soon.

    Plans for reclamation for the new Power Station are gathering pace with in-depth assessments being done to ensure the infill goes ahead with least possible environmental impact. This is welcomed by the ESG.

    An issue we are currently examining is that of ship hull cleaning in Gibraltar. We have been contacted by overseas journalists, seen articles in international media on this and have also been approached by concerned members of the public. This relates specifically to a charge that Gibraltar and Algeciras Ports continue to undertake hull cleaning practices using methods and or materials which are banned elsewhere in the world. This is highly disturbing in actuality, because of the impact on the environment, and also in giving Gibraltar a bad name overseas. The ESG is currently looking into this matter and plans to issue a full statement once all the facts are collected. Anyone with robust information on this is to please contact us at 200-48996 or mobile 54960000, or email at esg@gibtelecom.net. All contact information is available online and in the telephone directory.

    The ESG wishes to also draw attention to recent polluting episodes across the border as these have regional importance. Spanish group Agaden have lodged official complaints to La Junta over the treatment facilities for hazardous industrial waste at GAMASUR in Los Barrios for some time but issues have peaked once again with highly toxic substances, such as cyanide, leaking from the plant and threatening river systems. The ESG will bring this to the notice of our MEPs as this carries serious implications for the Bay environment and these shockingly poor standards of containment of hazardous waste must be improved upon urgently.

    That’s it for now, please get in touch if you would like any more information on what you have heard, or indeed, have any information for us. Thanks for listening.