It is the largest salt lake in Europe that is getting worse by the day. And the pandemic does nothing more than aggravate the situation. The Mar Menor, located in Murcia, Spain, is contaminated with algae that produce skin reactions, plastics, mining, uncontrolled urban planning, urban discharges, accumulation of sludge, and agricultural and livestock waste.
Tourists and neighbors comment that the water is chocolate colored, and that they continually find dead fish on the shore. "What used to be a wonderful and unique ecosystem is now a green soup" - points out Marta Añíbarro, founder of Abracemos al Mar Menor.
The intense rainfall in the autumn of 2019 dragged all kinds of agricultural and urban waste to the coast, this caused that along several coastal towns appear dead fish and crustaceans caused by the lack of oxygen in the water.
Although the regional government announced a decree for the protection of the sea, the organizations that are in charge of raising awareness about this problem have low hopes about this type of decision, taking into account the accumulated negative experience.
Among the causes of the degradation of the Mar Menor are:
The wild urbanism; The urban saturation due to mass tourism has altered the natural conditions, invading the land with infrastructure and remodeling.
Water discharges; This lagoon receives discharges such as heavy metals and fecal waters daily, as well as polluting products derived from intensive agriculture, mainly nitrates and phosphates.
“Among other bad practices, it has been over thirty years killing him with massive constructions, surrounding him with irrigated crops in a rainfed area, destroying his wetlands, allowing the dragging of sediments from abandoned mines, sending him untreated wastewater. and rainwater without canalization and full of nitrates ”- explains Marta Añíbarro.
Boats; Another major problem is the boats and jet skis that navigate with the consequent noise pollution and hydrocarbons.
In addition to applying the laws, to recover the Mar Menor it would be necessary to pay attention to the natural spaces that were destroyed throughout these years. As well as the construction of new wetland surfaces that act as a filter for pesticides and absorb excess nutrients. The Mar Menor needs a lot of help but still has a chance of survival.