In Spain, a human chain 73 kilometers long was formed and a minute’s silence was observed for thousands of animals.
In protest against one of Spain’s worst environmental tragedies in recent years, 70,000 people “embraced” Europe’s largest saltwater lake. The human chain of about 73 kilometers covered the entire perimeter of the Mar Menor “Little Sea” in the southeastern region of Murcia on Saturday, Europa Press and other media reported.
A minute’s silence was also observed for the thousands of animals who fell victim to water pollution.
Background: In the previous week, according to the authorities, nearly five tons of dead animals were removed from the water within seven days. This wasn’t the first mishap in what was once a nature and holiday paradise. Almost two years ago, for example, almost three tons of dead lake dwellers were washed away – mostly small fish and crabs. The conservative regional government and the left-wing central government blame each other.
Eutrophication is the cause
The cause of the mass extinction of fish is the so-called eutrophication – harmful enrichment of nutrients in the water due to human activities. This leads to a vigorous proliferation of algae and bacteria that cause a lack of oxygen and deprive other plant species, fish, other animals and small organisms of their livelihoods. Higher temperatures speed up the eutrophication process. Shortly before the latest disaster, a heat wave sent temperatures across Spain to more than 40 degrees Celsius.
The Mar Menor was once considered one of the most beautiful regions in Spain – today you can only see “green soup” that smells bad. Environmentalists in the first place scoff at the government of the Murcia region. They do nothing against intensive agriculture in the immediate vicinity of the lake, which is the main cause of problems. In addition to fresh water, clay containing fertilizers enters the lake, especially when it rains heavily. In the wake of the disaster and protests, the regional government this week decided to set some environmental requirements for the area, but environmentalists dismissed that as insufficient.
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