EXCLUSIVE: Mallorca council, Tirme and Palma port face fines over burned plastic ‘pollution’

Balearic government issues ultimatum over molten rubbish washing up on beaches

LAST UPDATED: 20 Jul, 2017 @ 20:25
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By Joe Duggan and Gillian Keller

THE island’s government, Palma port authority and Tirme incinerator have been ordered to prove they are not using illegally burned plastics.

The group are facing heavy fines, alongside Mac Insular, after activists demanded action over alleged serious pollution affecting Palma’s coastline.

PLASTIC: Burned remains washing up on beaches. say locals

The Balearic government’s environment department has called for documentary proof that it is legal to use the burned plastics allegedly being used in large redevelopment works around Palma’s muelle de Ponent.

It comes after local activists and residents claimed 20,000 tonnes of molten slags have escaped from the building work, ending up in the sea.

“They must send the requested documentation within ten days,” a government spokesperson told the Olive Press this week.

“Once this documentation is gathered, we will open a case file on whether to issue sanctions.”

The problem emerged over Palma port, which is currently being expanded.

Activists claim the multinational building firm FCC is using molten plastic remains from the Tirme incinerator in the construction process.

One local mother, Aina, 31, told the Olive Press she had filed a denuncia with police after mounds of burned plastic washed up on the beach, known as La Gaviota in Molinar, where she takes her five-year-old daughter.

“On San Juan we were all at the beach,” she told the Olive Press. “That afternoon the whole shore was covered in burned plastic, with milky, cloudy water. We didn’t swim.

“There has always been plastic but not like this – this molten mix.”

She added: “I want to know the waters are safe for my child to swim in. This beach is full of babies and children.”

Other activists have filed denuncias with the police and Conseller de Mallorca, leading the council to ban the use of burned plastic, but the mess has not been cleaned up.

Green group Mallorca Blue filmed two videos showing beaches littered with the molten remains, which have been watched 80,000 times on Facebook.

‘[The plastic] is normally used on roads, but never in the sea. If it is not properly contained and controlled, it leaks into the sea,’ claimed a Mallorca Blue spokesman.

A Tirme spokesperson told the Olive Press the waste was ‘not toxic or dangerous’, adding that he had yet to see the demand from the government.

“As soon as it arrives we will answer as soon as possible,” he said.

“The plastics found in the beaches have absolutely nothing to do with the building work.

“The material used in the work is recycled….[and] doesn’t contain plastic, or the percentage is very low.”

But Mallorca Blue and fellow environmentalists GOB have called for an analysis of the water around Palma.

“This scandal could be a huge environmental crime,” a GOB spokesperson said.

Last month, the Mallorca government’s environmental minister Sandra Espeja intervened and stopped the molten plastic being used.

But a spokesperson for the Conseller de Mallorca told the Olive Press: “We don’t have the authority to clean up the water.

“We can only control the material used in the building work

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