miércoles, 15 de octubre de 2008

The Portman bay (Spain)

In 1986, Greenpeace drew attention to the poison being poured from the Peñarroya factory into Portman (old Portus Magnus) Bay, Murcia, in south-eastern Spain.
Every day for nearly 30 years the Portman plant spewed 7,000 tonnes/day of toxic mud into the bay. By the late 1980s the bay, where once boats of 5 metres' draught could sail, had become a solid mass of poisonous mud. Roughly 50 million tonnes of waste loaded with cadmium, lead, zinc, cyanide and sulphuric acid had been deposited in that time, and the continental shelf for tens of kilometres around the bay was utterly devoid of life.
Greenpeace first moved against the plant very early in the Mediterranean campaign, at the end of July 1986. After warning the factory of their intention, six volunteers attempted to block the discharge pipe, and three of them chained themselves to it to stop anyone removing the bung. In fact, the activists did not entirely stop the flow - so that a spray of effluent shot 30 metres into the air as pressure built up behind the bung, making a picture that illustrated better than anything the filth that Peñarroya was pouring into the sea.
In June 1987 Greenpeace exposed the hypocrisy of the Spanish government by dumping a tonne of toxic mud from Portman on the steps of the Ministry of Public Works (Ministerio de Obras Públicas) in Madrid while, inside the building, the minister was celebrating 'World Day for the Environment' with the press. The organisation followed up this action with others and, at the end of the year, began legal proceedings against the company. Local fishermen and townspeople joined the campaign with direct actions of their own.
Finally, Peñarroya abandoned the plant, selling the site and the contaminated bay to a tourist development company that intends to build houses and a golf course there. On 1 April 1990, the Spanish General Secretary of the Environment ceremonially halted the discharge from the pipe. Greenpeace regard the issue as won for all practical purposes - but they are still pursuing the Peñarroya company in the courts in the hope of making them pay for the untold damage they caused the Mediterranean during their time at Portman Bay.
The above picture is a composition showing the current Portman bay (taken from Google Earth)with the old port and the old coastline highlighted.
Taken from Greenpeace Stories
To knwon more Salvar Portman ; Portmán (Spanish wikipedia)

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