The dumping of pellets that reached the Galician coast has become one of the relevant issues in the plenary session held this week by the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This Thursday morning, starting at 9:00 a.m., the chamber debates the issue after the inclusion of the topic on the agenda at the last minute and in the presence of the Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius. The pollution of sandy beaches is well known among MEPs and, in fact, 61 of them have signed a letter in which, among other measures, they ask for “stricter rules” in the Galician sea to avoid another spill in the future and the designation of the Finisterre corridor as a “highly sensitive area”.
As this media learned, more than 60 MEPs from five groups and 17 member states have co-signed a letter promoted by Ana Miranda (BNG) to the commissioner and the presidents of Parliament and Council so that the European Union mediates in the matter urgently. Among the signatories, for example, is the rapporteur of the regulation on microplastics, the Portuguese João Albuquerque.
Thus, MEPs urgently call for “an ambitious review of the EU maritime security package” and the Marpol convention of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), since in his opinion “it should include contamination by microplastics from containers.” Furthermore, they understand that this “immediate” designation would also have to be included for the navigation channels located in front of Finisterre.
“Such measures will establish stricter standards and will ensure greater responsibility of ship operators and maritime traffic control, ultimately contributing to the long-term protection of our marine environment,” the text states.
Likewise, they urge both the European Parliament and the Council to adopt in this legislature the new proposal for a Regulation on the prevention of pellet losses to reduce pollution by microplastics, on which Albuquerque is working, which should include pollution from of maritime transport.
Furthermore, they demand that the Commission carry out “a socioeconomic evaluation of the environmental consequences and study the urgent and necessary help”.
“The MEPs are surprised because the anti-pollution plan was not activated and that already says it all“, highlights Miranda, who on Tuesday carried out an action in front of the chamber with other MEPs and who included criticism of the management of the Xunta in the letter. The objective is “call on the European authorities to mediate the problem”. In his opinion, “it is a real opportunity to have legislation that prevents something like this from happening again.”
The three Galician MEPs (Miranda, Nicolás Casares and Francisco Millán Mon) will meet tomorrow before the debate with Sinkevicius himself, to whom they will explain the situation of the spill that affects Galicia from their points of view. What they do agree on is the need to extend microplastic regulations to international maritime trade or, at least, to traffic in European waters.
Casares, who will go with Albuquerque and César Luena to present proposals to prevent it from happening in the future, wants to “highlight” Sinkevicius “that there is a problem and that this is pollution.” “We will ask you to be sensitive and only to accept the urgent meeting and to participate in the debate shows that it is a problem that the Xunta tried to deny, that it happened,” he added.
“We want to convey to you the amendments that we made for this regulation,” says Millán Mon, “because the maritime traffic part is taken very little and we wanted to expand it.” Accompanied by Dolors Monserrat and Gabriel Mato, he wants to tell you that “the Xunta is doing a lot” and also his “concern” that the messages it conveys “affect the image of the products and the marine industry sector.” Also the electoral context in the community and the “passivity of the central government.”
The BNG MEP, who will attend with the mayor of Muros, María Lago Lestónwill inform the commissioner “that the creation of a crisis cabinet was lacking” and that it is necessary “to legislate at this time when we have the possibility for stricter regulations.”