Wednesday 16th February 2022 – MIKE SMITH
Translated from an original article published on Xàbia AL DÍA
Following instructions from Dénia Court, the Ecologistas en Acción de la Marina Alta environmental campaign group, has formalized its complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office to take action on the Ramblars fire in order to “clarify responsibilities and negligence since everything seems to indicate that those responsible for ensuring the proper management of the Xàbia transfer plant have failed to fulfill their most essential functions”.
The environmental group points out various irregularities in its complaint, such as the fact that the Ramblars plant lacks a license for waste management and claim that it has been the Regional Ministry of the Environment itself that has confirmed this and that the town hall “has been repeatedly reprimanded and even fined for this reason”. In 2006, the Ministry imposed a penalty of 30,000 euros and, according to these same sources, the local council has not yet corrected this procedure since the space of the plant does not appear in the official register of plots that have a license for the management of waste.
Secondly, Ecologists points to the lack of basic elements for the prevention and extinction of fires in Ramblars despite having the precedent of the fires that occurred in 2016, 2005 and 2002 and being “perfectly foreseeable, preventable and avoidable”. It also points out the lack of other security measures such as a fence that prevents access to the enclosure, cameras or thermal sensors that warn of a possible fire or water intakes with enough power for firefighters to connect hoses directly to them.
It adds that everything seems to indicate that those responsible at the local council have not bothered to enforce the conditions of the contract awarded to the contractors Biomasas del Guadalquivir, by which they undertake to transfer vegetable waste and not have it accumulated for more than a month in the area of Ramblars”.
In this sense, the environmental group points out how the person in charge hired to manage the plant acknowledged that “despite the fire taking place, the site was still active and in operation” receiving and accumulating more waste. He admits that “there was a danger of the fire spreading due to the proximity of the new waste but he argued that they had no other place to store it.” This was because the shredding machine had been broken since Christmas and the waste was piling up. After announcing the ongoing report in which Ecologists in Action was immersed, Ramblars was temporarily closed and a space was set up for the disposal of green waste.
The fire started on November 21, 2021 and 40,000 cubic meters of vegetable waste are burning in it, including other types of waste such as plastics.
The atmospheric conditions linked to the fire are producing dense smoke that reaches the Arenal beach zone, the historic centre of Xàbia and the Gata de Gorgos municipality as well as numerous scattered houses and urbanizations. The residents directly affected have expressed their discomfort at what is a worsening of living conditions and a public health problem, especially if one takes into account that not only plant remains are on fire.