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  • 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