‘Mar Menor’ and nitrates: political and technical challenge?


The ‘Mar Menor’, the largest saltwater lagoon in Europe located in the region of Murcia (Spain), has suffered and suffers a very serious abuse of the natural environment. The recent death of thousands of species that inhabit it is a direct consequence of the political and administrative ineptitude that has looked the other way for decades.

The research group “Mediterranean Ecosystems” (University of Murcia) indicates that agricultural and livestock activity is responsible for 85% of the eutrophication of the Mar Menor. This intensive agriculture, by large agribusiness companies and distribution chains, has caused a great environmental impact in the form of nitrates, which are introduced into the Mar Menor either by surface or through contaminated aquifers where they have been It has been accumulating progressively. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the Ministry for Ecological Transition indicates that of the 60,000 hectares of irrigated land, some 20,000 have no concessions, that is, they are illegal. In addition, 90% of the inspected farms do not comply with current regulations, resulting in 500 purinera rafts infiltrating or overflowing.

The elimination or reduction of these nitrates in their origin, coming largely from the disproportionate fertilization of fertilizers and slurries, would lead to a technological solution to the environmental problem involved. This could be achieved through biological systems of ‘nitrification-denitrification’ in the same farms.

In any case we have to reflect and look for a solution that ultimately affects all of us.

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