February 27, 2024

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Millions of 'siren tears' stream onto the beach, and then the seemingly inevitable happens in Spain

Millions of 'siren tears' stream onto the beach, and then the seemingly inevitable happens in Spain

to Strainers, sieves and frying baskets Hundreds of people flocked to the beaches of Galicia in northwestern Spain last weekend, determined to separate white plastic balls from grains of sand. They didn't want to wait, fearing birds and other animals would ingest the plastic.

“Siren Tears,” as the balls are called in the Spanish media, ended up in the water on December 8. Six containers then fell into the sea from the ship Toconaw, sailing under the Liberian flag, which was located off the Portuguese coast. One of the containers contained a thousand bags filled with plastic granules.

The following week, the first bags washed ashore. A quick glance at the packaging was enough to recognize the manufacturer: Bedeko Europe, a Polish polymer manufacturer. Balls are used to make plastic items, such as bottles and other packaging materials.

I arrived first Full bags on the coastBut that changed last week. Now the loose grains are washing up a coastline tens of kilometers long, almost from the Spanish-Portuguese border beyond the large coastal city of A Coruña. The Galicia state government announced on Monday that the balls ““It's not toxic or dangerous.” We are. They are made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, known from PET bottles.

Residents roam the beach of Vilar in Galicia by themselves.Reuters photo

Mutual blame

According to the government in Madrid, the boat owner indicated that he wanted to take responsibility for the environmental damage. The company is said to be willing to pay for the cleanup and has offered to help.

However, the seemingly inevitable is happening in Spain: the regional government, in this case the government of Galicia, and the central government in Madrid, are exchanging accusations. Both parties blame the other for not reacting quickly enough to the balls incident. According to Madrid, it is necessary to Galicia First declares a higher crisis levelBut Galicia says that requires more information from Madrid.

The plastic dump comes before regional elections in Galicia. These elections are also considered an indicator of national politics. What is the status of the Socialist Party's popularity now that a new government has been formed in Madrid led by Pedro Sanchez?

The comments back and forth are quite scathing, perhaps because the election is so close. One socialist politician has already compared the release of plastic balls to the major disaster that occurred with the oil tanker Prestige in 2002. Large parts of the Galician coast were smeared with oil, but right-wing conservatives tried to cover it up as much as possible. .

Blank image Reuters

Reuters photo

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