12 Aug, 2022 @ 11:30
1 min read

Gibraltar bay refinery slammed by environmental groups over toxic flare

Gibraltar Bay Refinery Photo Wikimedia
Gibraltar Bay Refinery Photo Wikimedia

GREEN campaigners called for an official inquiry into how the Campo refinery let off dangerous chemical fumes for nearly three hours in the evening of August 7.

The Environmental Support Group (ESG) said a 20-minute power failure from an electricity substation failure in Pinar del Rey was to blame for the gas flare.

But it called on the Gibraltar Government to take action after the emergency release of fumes lasted more than the few minutes allowed under international rules.

CEPSA refinery gibraltar pollution
GUILTY: The CEPSA refinery in the Campo de Gibraltar

According to the group’s website, a buildup of gases at oil refineries causes flares when electricity is cut off.

The toxic gases are released into the air in a ‘dirty’ way with a flame or smoke signaling their release.

“Best practice should see back up power supply at the industry to restore power and limit flaring as quickly as possible, in a matter of minutes,” the ESG said in a statement.

“Flaring releases untold levels of toxic chemicals into the surrounding environment,” it added.

Flaring, or torching, as it is also called, hurts the environment, gives off a rotten egg smell from dangerous hydrogen sulfide and increases global warming.

The ESG pushed the authorities to find out if emergency power was in place at the Campo refinery.

It called the incident “a cross border environmental and public health hazard.”


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