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Mogán continues to allow raw sewage to be pumped into the sea, despite fines and warnings from Environmental Agency

Mogán continues to allow raw sewage to be pumped into the sea, despite fines and warnings from Environmental Agency

Serious concerns for the popular Southwest Gran Canaria tourism Municipality of Mogán, include their not having achieved any blue flags for the cleanliness of their beaches over the last 3 years.

La Agencia Canaria, for environmental protection, has detected at least two unauthorised discharge outlets, dumping untreated sewage directly into the sea, one in Arguineguín and the other in Playa de Mogán.

There are members of the Mogán community who have been fighting for recognition of this problem for nearly 20 years, with several discharge pipes known to be pumping untreated sewage into the sea, in direct contravention to sanitation laws and requirements, at various points along the Costa Mogán.  The current mayor is already under investigation for a number of irregularities, including the awarding and management of water and waste services.  The head of Aguas de Arguineguín, Luis Oller, is also under investigation, in connection to electoral irregularities, contracts, debts and suspected connections to manipulation of the ballot in Mogán, in 2015 and 2019.

The agency have, more than once, warned La Alcaldesa Onalia Bueno, that if the discharges do not cease immediately, they will proceed to the criminal jurisdiction, under the provisions of artical 556 of the Penal Code, reserved for “those who lack the respect and consideration due to the authority, in the exercise of their functions” with the potential, if found guilty, for a custodial sentence of between 1 and 12 months.

Two judgements, in cases brought by the Canary Islands Agency for the Protection of the Natural Environment, have come to light, via Mogán’s opposition party, Nueva Canarias. Two sanctions have been imposed on the Mogán Town Council, amounting to €30,000 each, for dumping wastewater into the sea without gaining the corresponding authorisations.  That is €60,000 of Mogán tax payers money.

In one case, specifically on 121/2018, on February 20, 2018, the processing of a file regarding discharges into the sea was brought to their attention, and the Agency sent an official letter to Bueno referring to wastewater from Puerto de Mogán and the Las Casillas waste water treatment plant, being pumped through an underwater outlet, located at the outer end of the Puerto de Mogán breakwater, where she and her administration were required to provide a report of the measures they were going to adopt to correct the situation.

It also appears in this case that on September 24, 2019, environmental agents from the Agency, confirmed that the discharges are being carried out without the mandatory land-sea discharge authorisations.

After confirmation of these facts, the Executive Director of the Canary Islands Agency for the Protection of the Natural Environment, through resolution No.453, initiated the sanctioning procedure against Mogán Town Council, for the commission of a Serious infraction described in art. , 90.2 h) of Law 22/1988, on Coasts, and imposed a penalty of €30,000.

On June 9, 2021, the Agency notified Mogán of the resolution, in addition to imposing the sanction of € 30,000, it ordered the Mayor of Mogán to confirm “the immediate stoppage of discharges that are the subject of this sanctioning procedure, with the warning that in the event of non-compliance with this order, you must abide by the provisions of art. 556 of the Penal Code, this Agency transmitting the corresponding complaint to the Criminal jurisdiction”.

In a second case file (122/2018), the environmental Agency imposed the same penalty, that is another €30,000, for ​​wastewater discharge, without authorisation, into the sea from, in this case, the Arguineguín waste water treatment plant through an underwater outlet near El Pajar.

Nueva Canarias have pointed out that this is not new. In 2016, a report contracted by the Mogán Town Council, prepared by the company Canaragua Concesiones SA, revealed that “the municipally-owned outlet at Playa de Mogán was pouring untreated water residuals into the sea”.

NC spokesperson in Mogán, Isabel Santiago, emphasise that there are other problems that affect the environment of Playa de Mogán, as well as the economic activity of the area, including sewage discharges that have occurred at the mouth of the main channel coming from the Barranco de Mogan ravine, right by the Beach. Santiago points to Bueno’s clear lack of interest in these matters,  evident both in having rejected renovation proposals for sanitation, as well as when having refused in 2018 to offer any explanations to the opposition, on the sanitary situation of public supply water in the municipality, after registering a request to appear on this matter.

The closure of beaches, bad smells, prohibitions and restrictions on the consumption and use of the public water supply, excess chlorides, increased salinity in wells, in areas like Arguineguín, illegal dumping into the sea and the refusal of Bueno to municipalise the water supply service, say the opposition,  show the contempt that mayor Bueno shows towards the environment..

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