“There are grounds for complaint to European Commission” – Quercus
Environmental association Quercus has denounced another “unacceptable situation” polluting the waters of the Tejo river as it enters Portugal from Spain.
The immediate issue is “an anomalous growth of microalgae”, visible from the entrance of the river in Portugal to Ortiga in Mação.
But the key issue is that this is an “unacceptable situation (that) recurs cyclically and needs an effective and urgent political solution”.
The river’s waters are “extremely polluted”, as a result of “several factors, above all the high concentration of nutrients.
“These nutrients originate from discharges of wastewater (sewage) without adequate treatment and from agricultural fertiliser run-off that has accumulated over the years at the bottom of the reservoirs in Extremadura (Spain).
“If we continue without sewage treatment and with agricultural fertiliser run-off, nothing will be solved”, warns Quercus.
To this dilemma “must be added the free management of discharges from Iberdrola dams, authorised by the governments of Portugal and Spain” the association adds.
Bottom line, it is time for “the urgent intervention of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Action.
“The Minister for the Environment and Climate Action must demand explanations from his Spanish counterpart since this situation, which occurs year after year, constitutes a further worsening of the ecological status of the bodies of water of the Tejo river in Portugal in breach of the Albufeira Convention regarding the obligation to guarantee the good ecological status of border and transboundary bodies, and in breach of the Water Framework Directive, which imposes the objective of achieving good ecological status of bodies of water,” concludes Quercus.
Quercus’ statement lends weight to the extraordinary work performed ‘behind the scenes’ by self-styled river guardians like the ProTejo Movement which have been sounding alerts about the condition of the Tejo’s waters – and lack of effective action – for years.
According to the association there are clear grounds for lodging a complaint with the European Commission against the governments of Portugal and Spain.