13 Mar, 2022 @ 10:30
2 mins read

Environmentalists fume over slow burning fire on Ramblars waste dump in Javea on Spain’s Costa Blanca

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THE slow-burning fire at Javea’s green waste dump Ramblars is finally getting judicial attention after a regional environmental group presented a denuncia before Denia court in February.

Ecologistas en Accion (EEA) de la Marina Alta passed the Olive Press the document that claims 40,000m2 of green waste has been smouldering since November 21 last year.

The document says ‘plastics’ mixed in with biodegradable garden waste are creating ‘dense fumes’ that damage the health of residents.

These fumes regularly reach as far as the Arenal, Javea old town and Gata de Gorgos.

Regional EEA coordinator Ferran told the Olive Press that Ramblars used to be regular landfill site where periodic fires were common.

“EU directives in the early 2000s meant Javea had to take its landfill waste elsewhere, but Ramblars continued to be used as a green waste dump,” Ferran said.

“However, we’ve looked at the laws and they read the operating company may only hold waste for a month before shredding it and dispatching it elsewhere.”

“But they haven’t been doing that, so the mountains of green have been growing and growing and now they’re on fire.”

The denuncia notes five ‘negligencias’ and ‘irregularidades’ in management of the site.

These are the main points in brief:

  • The Zona de Transferencia de Residuos Vegetales del Ramblars does not have a licence for waste management. Javea town hall is aware of this and has been fined in the past (€30,000 in 2006).
  • Ramblars lacks the ‘fundamental elements’ for prevention of fires (no fencing, no video cameras, no thermal sensors, no hydrants to allow firefighters to connect directly to hoses). This is despite fires in 2016, 2005 and twice in 2002.
  • The operating company (Biomasas del Guadalquivir) is contractually obliged to retain green waste no more than a month before removing it off-site. The EEA believe for a 40,000m2 area of waste to have accumulated, this means there has been no removal of waste for ‘years’.
  • EEA contacted Biomasa del Guadalquivir on January 25 (2 months after the fire began) and received confirmation the site was still accepting green waste, which the company admitted was at direct risk of catching fire. The company said their shredding machine had been broken since ‘before Christmas’ and admitted the company was not fit to perform contractual obligations. A representative argued there was ‘nowhere else with a licence’ to take the waste to.
  • EEA believe Ramblars has no ‘effective surveillance’ meaning technicians could arrive at the site and walk up to the flames as there was ‘no one there’. Video images presented to court show fresh green waste within reach of the flames. EEA say Ramblars also has mountains of ‘doors, windows and old furniture’ evidently there since before the fire.

Though earlier EEA action saw Ramblars site closed down on February 2, the document warns a new green dump on camino Cabanes has ‘no licence’ to manage green waste or any basic elements to prevent new fires.

The denuncia urges immediate measures to ensure Ramblars complies with fundamental regulations to avoid further environmental damage. 

“We believe that if no measures are taken and local authorities maintain a negligent attitude, it’s very likely that within a few  years this undesirable situation will repeat itself bringing an environmental disasters with grave effects to public health.”

According to recent report from Xabia al Dia, Javea has urgently sought a new contractor (Abonos Organicos Montagud) to manage the Ramblars green waste dump. 

“We believe this company is serious,” said Javea councillor Kika Mata, adding the company possessed all the right certificates.


Joshua Parfitt

Joshua James Parfitt is the Costa Blanca correspondent for the Olive Press. He holds a gold-standard NCTJ in multimedia journalism from the award-winning News Associates in Twickenham. His work has been published in the Sunday Times, Esquire, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Mirror, among others. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss devastating flooding in Spain, as well as making appearances on BBC and LBC radio stations.

Contact me now: [email protected] or call +44 07960046259. Twitter: @jjparfitt

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