Gibraltar sent Spain more than 30,000 tons of rubbish a year. Then came Brexit

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For days, more than six thousand tons of domestic waste have remained accumulated in a tiny dump on the east side of the Rock of Gibraltar. The adventure began in February, when the agreements with the Association of Municipalities of the Campo de Gibraltar to process the garbage in the Los Barrios landfill in Cadiz ceased to be applicable due to Brexit.


The Brexit of garbage. for 23 years, the Southern Europe Environmental Complex is responsible for managing Gibraltar’s rubbish. However, the negotiations to define the situation of the Rock with respect to Spain are still under way and, meanwhile, any management (no matter how minor) can become a huge problem. In recent weeks, the UK government has had to purchase garbage shredding machinery so that waste storage capacity is not compromised. But in recent days, the situation was becoming untenable.

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So much so that the Government of Llanito has plans on the table to start storing rubbish in World War II tunnels or transfer it by boat to other countries that do not belong to the European Union. None of this solves the underlying problem: the chain of delays that, starting with the Gibraltar Waste Company, reaches the Ministry for the Ecological Transition of the Government of Spain (who finally has to authorize the passage of garbage through the Gate ) and has been able to cause the first major environmental problem of Brexit.

A problem that does not only affect Gibraltar. At least, that is what can be deduced from the complaints that both environmental groups (such as Verdemar) or employer and cooperation associations (such as the Transfronterizo Group) have been making in recent days. The accumulation of waste in small facilities can trigger “an episode of environmental pollution for the entire bay” of Algeciras and, if it worsens, throughout the strait. Finally, as confirmed by the Government of Gibraltar itself, the problem has been resolved and the transport work began on February 25.

And we must not forget that the Parque Natural del Estrecho is located there, 18,910 protected hectares that play a key role in the passage of migratory birds and marine mammals at a supracontinental level. An ecological crisis in that area would put ecosystems on the ropes that are already highly degraded by the continuous passage of ships in such a small space as the Strait.

A solution… stopgap. Both the Commonwealth and the Ministry have announced that in the next few days waste trucks will begin to be sent to the Los Barrios complex, but the problem is still latent. This Tuesday, March 1, the negotiating table meets again to define relations with Gibraltar and, although it is not the intention of the authorities, if no progress is made, the situation may repeat itself.

Update: According to Xataka, it has been able to confirm with the Government of Gibraltar “the administrative process is complete, the necessary documents for the Cross-Border Transfer of Waste are initialed”. In this way, the trucks began the transfer from February 25 and at the date of publication of this article, the problem should already be resolved (or in the process of being resolved).

Image | Christopher Moreno

For days, more than six thousand tons of domestic waste have remained accumulated in a tiny dump on the east…

For days, more than six thousand tons of domestic waste have remained accumulated in a tiny dump on the east…

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