Huge amounts of sewage continue to be dumped directly into the sea

Huge amounts of sewage continue to be dumped directly into the sea

The Canarian Business Association of Environmental Consultants have warned of the health consequences of "highly polluted" wastewater that is continually pumped into the sea without control. In Tenerife, there are 200 registered discharge points, of which 136 do not have any authorization. In Santa Cruz, there are five, but there are also some in Arico, Candelaria, Granadilla (El Medano), Garachico, and Puerto de la Cruz, all registered in the Census of Discharges of the Canary Islands Government carried out in 2017.

The impact on human health of these highly polluting domestic wastewater discharges is the focus of the petition that the Canarian Business Association of Environmental Consultants has addressed to the Canary Islands Parliament, to open an investigation to analyze the situation of these "illegal" discharges.

In its letter, the association points out that "contamination on bathing beaches due to these illegal discharges into the marine environment, at unauthorized points, can cause people different diseases due to the spread of viruses and bacteria from the faecal waters, representing a serious health risk, to the balance of ecosystems, as well as being severely harmful to the marine environment”.

The chairman of the Canarian Business Association of Environmental Consultants, Juan Rumeu, said: "we are not a typical environmental association, we are a non-profit association of professionals, but all environmental consulting professionals, in which there are engineers, doctors, pharmacists, and laboratory technicians, with more than 30 years experience in everything related to the integral water cycle.”

“As professionals, we have permanent and real information on everything that is happening on the coast, and what really worries us is not so much the environmental issue, but public health, because all these discharges are contaminating the beaches and spaces where people bathe”.

“At the moment it is not known for sure what damage they are causing people, because there is no census of the pathologies that they may be causing. However, it is known what the bacteria produce, but not to what extent they are affecting those who bathe close to these contaminated points, this is why we have asked the commission, to study and evaluate the consequences of these discharges on people’s health.”

The president of the environmental consultants is angry that the authorities don’t take it more seriously. “They treat E.coli (faecal bacteria) as if they were all the same, but there are many different types. There is E.coli that can cause serious health problems to children or people with underlying illnesses, but there is also enterococci or viruses present in that wastewater because everything that is excreted by humans can cause disease.”

For these reasons the association wants a series of controls to be established. They insist that “it is clear that discharges cause diseases, so why are they allowed to continue pumping excrement into the sea? What is being done to control all this?”