Coastline Shame

Monday, July 24, 2017
By Hugh MacArthur

ECO Dumped TyresGone are the days when dry riverbeds were the dumping grounds for building waste, old fridges, bidets and dead donkeys – well, they’re almost gone.

It’s not so easy to dump stuff in riverbeds as there is more vigilance, as well as a greater chance that a passerby will berate you or report you. But, dumping tyres down a cliff on the old coastal road is another matter: little chance of being seen. And that’s precisely what is happening.

A casual glance down the cliffs between Calahonda and Castell will reveal old TV’s, fridges, mattresses and, dozens of old tyres – this officially protected area is a de-facto rubbish dump, which is a tremendous pity because the coastline is virgin and spectacular.

It was an ecologist-cum-hiker association, Sierra Nevada Limpia, that raised the alarm in order to increase awareness. They dragged up dozens of them and dumped them on a disused stretch of the N-340 taking photos and videoing it. Amazingly, they were fined for their efforts.

They have spent three years cleaning up this part of the coastline, meeting once a month to tirelessly leave the landscape tyreless. The membership fees are used to finance these expeditions, targeting out-of-sight, out-of-mind, barrancos.

The team hauls them up and put them in a trailer and drives them off to several local garages, but none of them wants to take charge of them, so they ended up taking them up to the north of Granada to a centre that recycles them.

So, where do these tyres come from – obviously, it not individuals dumping their own tyres but rather garages that dump them clandestinely rather than pay the fees at the recycling centres.

The Mayor of Castell de Ferro, Toñi Antequera, admits that she knows about the problem and that she has even contacted the Provincial Environmental Department, as well as coordinating with the said ecologist group’s volunteer base to provide the manpower.

In fact, it had all been arranged for the 15th of May: the volunteers were going to dislodge the tyres so that they fell down into the sea where a RIB was going to collect them and sail them around to Playa Rijana, where a Town Hall lorry was going to transport them to a recycling plant in Málaga, but then the Provincial Council put the mockers on it.

Why? Well the Provincial Environmental Department was worried about safety and that by clearing out the barranco, it would “create a surge in illegal dumping.”

So, the operation has been stalled since then because the Regional Authorities point out that the N-340 is the responsibility of the Central Government. The Provincial authority claims the same. Costas (the relevant department of the Ministry of Public Works) recognises that it has been approached but other than that, it has not moved, saying that the safety of the volunteers cannot be guaranteed.

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(News: Castell de Ferro, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia – Photo: still from video)

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