Saltwater Lagoon In Spain First Ecosystem To Be Granted ‘Human Rights’ In Europe

The Mar Menor in Spain has become Europe’s first ecosystem with the equivalent of “human rights”.

This means that the seaside saltwater lagoon found in Murcia, Spain, now enjoys a similar legal status to that of people and organisations.

The saltwater lagoon’s new legal status came into effect after the Senate of Spain gave the green light to a popular legislative initiative or proposal during a vote on Wednesday, 21st September, according to local media reports.

The condition of the eutrophication contamination in Mar Menor, that has not improved during the last 5 years from 2016 to the 2021, in Spain. (ANSE/Newsflash)

This was after over 640,000 signatures in support of the initiative were collected by a University of Murcia professor named Teresa Vicente Gimenez in the space of two years.

The ‘Law for the Recognition of the Legal Personality of the Mar Menor Lagoon and its Basin’ will come into effect after it is published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) in the upcoming days.

The lagoon, which is a Special Protection Area (ZEPA) for bird life, came close to an ecological collapse six years ago due to eutrophication caused by pollution as result of mining in the area, faulty sewage systems and the use of fertilisers.

This caused its once sky blue waters to turn green after 85 per cent of the vegetation found on its seabed was destroyed by algal blooms.


The condition of the eutrophication contamination in Mar Menor, that has not improved during the last 5 years from 2016 to the 2021, in Spain. (ANSE/Newsflash)

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The latest development means that the Mar Menor, Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon, will have greater governance along with legal protection that will allow local residents to demand reparations for the destruction of its waters.

Two hundred and thirty senate members reportedly voted in favour of the proposition while 30 members abstained from the vote and three individuals voted against the proposed measure.

Francisco Bernabe, 52, from the Popular Party (PP) in Spain, who has lived next to the saltwater lagoon since his birth, told local media of his fond memories of eating sardines on Perdiguera Island during family boat trips on the lagoon.

He added: “We must prevent fresh water loaded with nitrates from entering a state-owned channel.”

The condition of the eutrophication contamination in Mar Menor, that has not improved during the last 5 years from 2016 to the 2021, in Spain. (ANSE/Newsflash)

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Alice Amelia ThomasSub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash

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