Large fish deaths in Spanish lagoon due to offal pig breeders

The massive fish kill in a nature reserve in southeastern Spain is caused by the recently expanded pig farms. In addition, the pollution of the Mar Menor, a saltwater lagoon in the Murcia region, is greater than previously thought.

Due to the explosive growth of pork exports to China, the number of slaughterhouses in Spain has increased sharply in recent years. Although local pig farmers claim that they handle their waste correctly, new research shows that a lot of contaminated waste ends up in the Spanish nature reserve.

Five years ago, environmental groups first complained about the “green soup” the lake had turned into. Nitrate and phosphate would end up in the water via nearby farms.

Their new study argues that the region's pig farms are responsible for 17 percent of the nitrogen in the aquifer, a layer in the ground along which water flows to the lake.

In addition, the researchers have drone images that show that farmers process the pig waste in a harmful way. Normally, the waste should be stored in sealed and water-resistant pits. But the footage shows that the wastewater is spraying from the slurry pits, draining directly into the lake.

Interporc Spain, an organization representing the pig sector, emphasizes that the industry is making great efforts to operate without harming the environment and deplores the generalizations made about the pig industry.

However, activists believe that these efforts are not enough and took to the streets in several Spanish cities last week. They believe that 'Murcia should not become the toilet of Europe'.