Saturday 16 April 2011

La Graciosa is on the mend ?

The little Island of La Graciosa north of Lanzarote has a particular importance to us. We have been to this nature protected area a couple of times since 2007. And we were telling about what´s going on till then, again and again. We were appaled how a preserved natural area under the protection of the King of Spain could be in such bad condition. We found piles of waste, some were burning. In fact some areas looked like a normal, legal refuse disposal site.

In February 2011 we set the sails to see what happens since then, since we made it public.
The arrival was anything but easy. Stormy winds and 6 m waves turned our little trip into an intensive adventure, but finally we arrived savely with our COP sailboat.

We were warmly welcomed by the local people and after a day of rest we started to sound out the situation. First we realised with delight that the roads for cars and bicycles and the paths for people across the island where marked. And that the local government has sent out guards to make sure that no one leaves them. When we arrived at the beach the glass containers which has been misplaced on the beaches has been removed. We were happy to see the progress.

But as soon as we reached the area which we found polluted with waste back in 2007 and 2010 we could not believe our eyes. The dump site was covered with sand and next to it all sort of waste was piling up. And if this weren´t enough,  waste is still burned as this is the easy way to get rid of it.

Back in 2007 and 2010 the officials promised to stop the burning of waste and that they want to build a dump site where all the waste can be collected and stored properly to be later removed form the small island. But nothing has changed.
The trash is still burned at the coast and lots of it ending up in the ocean, the coastline and around the dumpplace.

Yes, we see the progress. Even if it is just the street names which are nicley painted on the houses. We see that people on the island are more and more aware of the situation. Someone made a nice piece of art out of the balls of oil, his personal way to make a statement.

But it is sad to see that in a protected area the waste is still burning. All we can do is to write another article, to make it public. And to hope again, that the King has not forget his island.