• Heavy rainfall causes new discharge of water into Mar Menor contaminated by mining waste on site of the old Balsa Jenny

THE recent heavy rains, registered as the biggest drop for decades, have caused a new discharge of water into the Mar Menor contaminated by mining waste on the site of the old Balsa Jenny, owned by the Autonomous Community and located in the town of Llano del Beal, in Cartagena.

The Platform of People Affected by Heavy Metals of the Sierra Minera de Cartagena and La Unión released a video and photographs of the area.

“We demand that the regional government of Fernando López Miras urgently adopt measures to seal and restore the plot and once and for all protect the health of the neighbours and the environment,” said a spokesperson.

They also requested the immediate intervention of the Prosecutor’s Office, citing the risk to minors.

The Platform are studying appearing as a private prosecution, in the case for alleged crime against the environment, opened in the Court of Instruction 4 of Cartagena.

This investigates the situation of this site and the nearby Los Blancos hazardous waste dump, to which an alleged million tons of waste were transferred from Jenny, during 2003-05, due to the risk of collapse.

The neighborhood group, whose spokesperson is Juan Ortuño, said: “The dragging of moon milk, leachate contains a toxic mixture of aluminum hydroxide, cadmium and zinc.”

It is also alleged that the run-off flows into the Ponce boulevard, which empties into the Mar Menor.

A report requested by the Ministry of the Environment, directed by Antonio Luengo, found in 2019 high levels of contamination by lead and zinc in the subsoil and also in the surface layer, which in theory should ensure waterproofing. He reportedly also found a risk of dispersion of polluting particles to the environment, due to rain.

Ortuño recalled that the farm has been the subject of various closure and environmental remediation works, at a cost of millions – but the problem continues.

When the waste dries, it forms crusts and the dispersion of the toxic dust it contains reaches the towns of Llano del Beal and Estrecho de San Ginés.

Sources from the Ministry of the Environment said: “Work is being done and progress is being made internally.”

Samples of the water have been taken.