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Gibraltar's waste problem due to Britain's exit from the European Union

Gibraltar’s waste problem due to Britain’s exit from the European Union

For decades, the British territory of Gibraltar made an agreement to send almost 30,000 tons of waste it produces annually to the Spanish landfill in Los Barrios, north of Algeciras, a few kilometers away. With Britain’s exit from the European Union (UK exit from the European Union), however, the waste disposal agreement also failed, with the result that for several months from 2022 in Gibraltar pile up Thousands of tons of rubbish (the size of Gibraltar is less than 7 square kilometers).

After about two months of bureaucratic procedures and complicated requests, at the end of February, the local government was able to start sending its waste back to Spain: however, it seems that the territory’s problems with the consequences of Brexit have not yet been fully resolved .

As early as mid-January, the environmental group Verdemar-Ecologistas en Acción reported that about 6,000 tons of trash had been deposited together and unsorted near Gibraltar’s east cape shore, known as the Boulder (“the rock”). While awaiting release of procedures for a new agreement on sending waste to Spain, the United Kingdom sent machines to crush and compress the garbage in Gibraltar; In the meantime, other options for managing waste have also been considered, such as stacking it in the underground network of tunnels or sending it to the UK for disposal there.

Then, when the new agreement with the Spanish government arrived, it took two weeks to clean up the area where the waste had accumulated: the works were completed a few days before the arrival of a powerful storm that brought with it waves up to 4 meters high which had the risk of spreading a lot of waste in the environment.

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According to the environmental associations, the situation was dealt with in a timely manner. If the storm had hit Gibraltar while the waste was still in the area, the impact on the environment and marine fauna would have been “significant”, He said Antonio Muñoz, member of Verdemar-Ecologistas en Acción. For now, the waste issue has been resolved, but since the Spanish government’s mandate runs for a year, it will have to be renewed again at the beginning of 2023, with the risk of more bureaucratic tasks.

The entry into force of the new Brexit agreements has caused many inconveniences, especially for the United Kingdom. Additional costs on shipments In the fuel crisis Linked to the lack of carriers with issues related to fishing rights in the English Channel.

Gibraltar, where 96 percent of the population (out of about 33,000 residents) voted in 2016 stay in the european unionfor several months in the middle discussions Parallel, directed for example to preserve in some way the freedom of movement between the territory and Spain and other lower privileges precisely by virtue of its special position. In spite ofWL subscriber The parties concerned announced that negotiations are still ongoing.

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