Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Ramblars – Further News

Environmentalists have reported the Ramblars fire in Javea to the Prosecutor’s Office for five cases of negligence.

The smoke that has led to “a worsening of the living conditions of the inhabitants of the area and a health and public health problem” that could have been avoided.

Ecologists in Action of the Marina Alta has filed a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office to “clarify the responsibilities and negligence that led to the fire in Ramblars Plant Waste Transfer Zone” thus following the recommendations of the Dean of Dénia court.

In its letter, the conservationists warn that the fire started on November 21, 2021, and has therefore been active for almost three months, and 40,000 cubic meters of vegetable waste mixed with other types of waste such as plastics are still burning.

Also, that the atmospheric conditions linked to the fire are producing dense smoke in the form of fog that reaches l’Arenal, Javea old town and Gata, as well as numerous scattered houses and urbanisations. “This smoke generates a worsening of the living conditions of the inhabitants of the area and represents a real health and public health problem, especially if one takes into account that among the vegetable remains, there are also plastic bags.”

“We consider that the following negligence and irregularities are taking place” lists Ecologists in Action.

1.No license

In the first place, the Transfer Zone lacks a license for waste management, as indicated by staff from the department to the group. They also added that the Javea City Council has been reprimanded on several occasions and has even been fined in the past (for example, the Ministry imposed a fine of 30,000 euros on the city council in 2006) for this reason.

“Even so, the local authorities have not corrected the irregularities and Ramblars continues to lack a license.” 

2. No means to prevent fires

Secondly, it “lacks the fundamental and basic elements for fire prevention and extinction”, despite the fact that a fire with the same characteristics already occurred in 2016 and in the past there were still others: in 2005 an amount equivalent to 5,000 trucks burned – and in 2002 there were two in one year.

“We consider that it is negligence not to have taken measures, especially considering that vegetable waste was being stored massively.” Among these shortcomings, Ecologistas en Acción lists that there is no fence closing off the passage to the enclosure or video cameras or thermal sensors that give an immediate alert in case of fire, nor are there any water hydrants with enough power for firefighters connect the hoses directly to them.

“It seems incredible, but after so much fire, there are no prevention measures or resources to promote extinction.”

3. The contract is not enforced

The complaint adds that those responsible for the city council “have not bothered to enforce the conditions of the contract awarded to the Biomasas del Guadalquivir company, who undertake to transfer the vegetable waste and not have it accumulated for more than a month in the area.

“The reality is that the waste had been accumulating for years and the 40,000 cubic metres currently burning is clear and evident proof of this neglect of responsibilities.”

4. And the company does not comply

For environmentalists, the Biomass del Guadalquivir company has failed to comply with the specifications of the contract. They denounce that despite the fact that the fire was taking place, the Transfer Zone was still active and in operation, that is, new waste continued to arrive and accumulate.

In this regard, personnel from the company itself alerted the conservationists that “there was a danger that the fire would spread due to the proximity of the new waste, but they argued that they had no other place to store the plant remains and it was from the town hall that the order had come to continue receiving waste. They also added that the reason why the waste accumulates and is not transferred “is that the shredding machine was broken since Christmas.” And that at the time the fire broke out, the plant was overcrowded with waste that had been accumulating there for a long time.

That is to say, “they openly recognised a neglect of the functions and the lack even of machinery in adequate conditions to carry out the contracted tasks.”

5. Unattended as seen in the video

For environmentalists, Ramblars, neither before nor during the fire, has it had effective control or surveillance. In fact, this organisation was able to reach the place where the fire was taking place on January 22 ” when no guards or any type of control were present.”

And a few tens of metres from the flames were piled “huge amounts of plant matter, especially pruning debris, part of which was still green and it was evident that they had been recently deposited.” The video published by  La Marina Plaza has been sent to the Prosecutor’s Office, illustrates this situation. 

On the other hand, within Ramblars there is still “a huge mountain of old furniture, doors, windows and other debris that has been accumulated since before the fire.”

Ecologists in Action refers to statements by Javea’s Councilor for Services, Kika Mata, who acknowledged that despite the fire taking place, the Plant Waste Transfer Zone was still active and “therefore she was aware of that new large amounts of vegetable waste were being piled not far from the fire, which is reckless since in case of strong wind an ash or ember could spread the fire further.

The Ultimate Timeline: Suddenly Closed

On January 27th, Ecologists in Action of the Marina Alta sent an email to the Dénia Dean of Courts, Seprona and the Alicante Firefighters Consortium with a request for the precautionary closure of the Ramblars Zone. On February 2nd, the Dean indicated to direct the said claim to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Thereafter, and pressured by the public and the press – and following the instructions of the fire consortium, Javea Council proceeded to close Ramblars on the same day, since it was considered that the presence of plant remains could hinder the work of extinction.

The council then proceeded to provisionally transfer the plant waste transfer area to another plot located next to the Cabanes road which, according to environmentalists, also does not have a license for plant waste management or the basic elements for fire prevention and extinction (takes water, fenced and guarded area).

Given all of this, “we believe that it is necessary and pertinent for the public prosecutor’s office to take urgent measures to elucidate responsibilities, since everything seems to indicate that the authorities and officials in charge of ensuring proper compliance with the management of Ramblars Zone have failed to comply with the most essential duties of diligence in their performance, which has caused and continues to cause damage of an environmental, health and even patrimonial nature to the affected citizens. 

In conclusion, the environmentalists state that, “if the appropriate measures are not taken and the local authorities maintain a negligent attitude, it is highly probable that in a few years this undesirable situation will be repeated, which supposes an environmental disaster with serious effects on public health.” 

SOURCE and to read in Spanish: la Marina Plaza

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