30 May, 2013 @ 17:48
1 min read

Environmentalists take action against San Roque pollution

refinery smoke

By Rebecca Maguire

AN environmental group has denounced the Cepsa San Roque refinery for polluting the local atmosphere after photos were posted online of black smoke billowing from the plant.

It comes after the series of worrying photos (right and below) were released by locals near the plant.

Ecologists in Action insists ‘dangerous chemicals’ are still being released into the air and maintenance needs to be much more comprehensive.

Spokesman Rafael Cerpa said: “Widespread sightings of night time releases of waste seem to indicate that the San Roque refinery is taking advantage of the cover of darkness.”

He added: “Pipes should be airtight and nothing toxic can be burnt in the incinerators.”

cepsa smoke

The communities of Puente Mayorga, Campamento and San Roque are particularly affected by the industrial area, but fumes can also be smelt on a regular basis in La Linea some 15 kilometres away.

In March, the Olive Press reported that the factory had spent 17 millions euros on renovating its equipment to improve its security and environmental credentials.

And in its environmental declaration Cepsa listed targets to reduce emissions of toxic sulphur dioxide (SO2) by 500 tonnes a year .

According to official monitoring statistics 8,090 tonnes of SO2 were released in 2011, compared with 6,824 tonnes in 2010 and 5,978 tonnes in 2008.

This is substantially down on the late 1990s when up to 30,000 tonnes were released a year.

Cepsa did not get back to the Olive Press on the concern


  1. For years now the Puente Mayorga refinery has been allowing sub-standard installations and emitting more pollution than European legislation allows.
    Each year they simply pay a fine to the government but continue in their ways. Paying the fine is cheaper than carrying out the repairs and installing new systems. Therefore refinery stays in operation, government makes money, locals keep their jobs … everyone’s happy !!!
    For years there have been reports of high incidence of cancer in the vicinity all related to the air and sea pollution, but who is listening?
    The refinery has become a monster industrial estate with a hundred manufacturing companies who’s main material such as plastics, etc. is a by-product of petrolium. They have been allowed to set up in the estate as they pay good rental and business licences. Each of them produces waste.
    Where do they dispense of such waste ???
    A typical government and local authority cover up.

  2. For one La Linea is a lot closer than 15kms… so please do some research….
    The Refinery hasn’t been there long enough to affect/cause cancer!! again do some research.
    Apart from Cespa there are a few other companies nearby, not 100s…Again do some research….
    Cespa may have a few issues but it provides jobs and income to a neglected and deprived area of spain.

  3. Wasn’t the refinery opened around 40 years ago?

    There has definitely been reported a higher than normal correlation of cancer in the immediate area, to my understanding this has even been acknowledged by the Spanish Health records. The questions is still if it’s related to the plant or not.

    I live in Sotogrande and some evenings (particularly in winter) if you go outside between 2am and 7am is absolutely reeks of pollution / chemicals. Driving past the refinery at these times (if its in full “smoking” mode) makes you almost sick.

    Is there supposed to be this level of air pollution? or is this abnormal?

  4. Where can the records relating to higher incidences of cancer be found? How much higher are the rates of cancer? That the refinery is producing high levels of pollution is without doubt, the smell can be over powering from kilometres away. Any help in quantifying the information regarding the cancer incidences would be much appreciated.

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