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  • ESG on local and regional activity

    The ESG wish to report on a meeting held with the Ministry for the Environment this week when a short presentation was given to the Minister and his staff by the ESG on the petition made to the Environment Commissioner in Strasbourg. The ESG is pleased to say that this generated much interest from all present.

    The ESG and its lawyer, David Dumas QC from Hassans, updated the Minister of the latest developments with the European Commission and that the complaint filed by ESG and GONHS was being taken forward by the EU authorities.

    At the end of the meeting the group also submitted letters on a number of issues of concern to the group such as bunkering pollution, data from monitoring stations and news of the start of an epidemiological study being launched on the other side of the border by La Junta.

    The ESG has been invited to a Bay forum calling for an open, solid and detailed epidemiological study to be done which is taking place in Algeciras this evening. The call has been made to include all the trade unions, political parties and environmental groups in the area, including the nationwide unions and the political parties. The intention is that such a united front of social, political, environmental and neighbourhood organisations will demand a full study to address pollution impact on health throughout the Bay. Concerns exist on both sides of the border that the incidence of cancers and other serious illnesses are higher in this area than elsewhere because of the heavy industrial activity.

    There are some people who might think that this type of forum simply can’t work because of the fragmented nature of political parties and groups in Spain. Also the fact that out of the many past altruistic efforts, these have been hijacked by political parties to suit their own agenda.

    The ESG is well aware of all these issues but considers the need for a full epidemiological study to be paramount above all other issues and so is worth giving this a try. Since the fundamental problem is a cross border one the format for any study would need to be clearly demarcated to include Gibraltar in a geographical sense although any study here would need to be under the control of our own authority. However the ESG would expect to see our own Government embark on parallel studies without delay.

    The ESG considers the matter important enough to take part in this introductory meeting in Algeciras and see if this time an effective and apolitical approach can survive beyond the first meeting. The other environmental groups share these concerns and commitment of the “end goal” and each will stipulate the terms for continued participation today.