Residents get hearing over poisonous stench

By Alex Trelinski

An Orihuela judge is to investigate the toxic fumes that are coming from a landfill site next to the Las Ramblas Urbanisation in Pilar de la Horadada. This follows a report by the environmental branch of the Guardia Civil, Seprona, which suggests poisonous gases are around the tip after acting on a complaint from the Altamira Urbanisation President, Bob Hammond, last summer.

The 20 metre high tip is in the Pilar council area on the edge of the Sierra Escalona park, and has been used as an unofficial rubbish dump for many years, leading to calls from residents in the neighbouring urbanisations for action against the pungent aroma. Bob Hammond said that he was pleased that the court is to start proceedings for an alleged crime against the environment.

The Seprona report says that some toxic gases like methane, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are present at the site, but that a more conclusive investigation by experts ought to be commissioned by the investigating judge. That would then put the court in a strong position to take appropriate legal action if the law has been broken.

Residents claim that the dump is illegal with the contents having rotted and the resulting gases ignited. Mr. Hammond says that it is a serious health hazard to those living nearby and to those who are on the paths of the winds which carry the probably toxic smoke over considerable distances around the Orihuela Costa. The residents claim that asthma sufferers are badly affected and a worryingly high number of cases of cancer have occurred among those living near to the site, though no official link between the two is available. The site is close to fields of orange and lemon trees which the local people claim could be affected by ground and air pollution.

Local political parties Claro and Compromis have both called for the judge’s investigation to start as soon as possible.

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