lunes, 13 de marzo de 2017

Under our feet

Epifanio Fernandez is th last example of the environmental and water-extraction consecuencies for the population at least here in Cantabria.

November,26,2010, Polanco`s council requiered the Enterprise “Solvay” a fast solution to repare all the damage caused to the inhabitants  as a consequence of the ground subsidence in the town.  By those times the chemical Enterprise”Solvay”  had been extracting salt for decades for it`s industrial proceedings  in the area of “Posadillo”. At that moment the water escapes form some water holes and the ground fractures had turned into a very serious problem that made the deputy Mayor, Luis Barrero, take part in in . Later, Both Enterprise and institutions reached an agreement, so Solvay repaired all the damage caused and undertaked to inform regularly to the council and to the industry general directorate about the researches of the ground`s behavior. In spite of everything, Cesaero Lavín  lost his house.

Since 1992 an inquiry made by the Department of public Works had alramed about the recurrent ground holes in  Camargo`s valley, which  were caused by the water extraction in that area.

Those extractions  had been increasing since 2003 to provide the town and many different minery activities. The technical information  made by the geological institute, and the Cantabria´s goverment didn`t work at all.  In an area full of limestone rock, with a karstic relief, the continuous and excessive extraction vacates big cavities which sag, pulling houses, animals and people. Mª Jesús Diego faces an association which has a hundred harmed and 53 affected homes which denounced the last April 16 the environmental unfulfilment which was approved by the administration, as we face,  Mª Jesús explains  , “ a problem of the territory caused by men´s action, not to an individual problem as a result of the bad luck”.

Behind a hard sentence, which condemns the administration and the CHN, the only thing that they have achieved is the evacuation of some houses. But the process continues. The subsoil is formed by sandy clays which fill the limestones cavities. The aquifers carry out the pressure and the support, the digging of those is demolishing the valley, transforming the landscape and therefore the life of tens  of families.

2012, a technical inform elaborated by the environmental investigation center (CIMA: Centro de Investigación del Medio Ambiente) of Torrelavega demonstrates the relationship between the constant water filtration in the houses of the neighbourhood of Torrelavega of La Turbera and the continuous flooding in the Azsa mine in Reocin, closed nine years ago. “It´s like living over a spring, the water emerges, it strains in our houses and it damages everything  that is electric” says  Epifanio Fernández, a 69-year- old man, one of the most affected neighbours, who receives everyday in his house journalists, technicians, geologists and politicians without being given a solution. “This used to be a huge mine in which the water of the galleries was  constantly pumped   and in which everything   was all right. But since the mine was  closed  there are  just a few  suction pumps, the mine has been flooded and the river is not able to hold so much water, it´s like a glass which overflows, and I´m in the edge of the glass”.

Several emergency works for the consolidation of the soil did not produce effect( between them a drainage canal of four meters depth). Even the mayor, Ildefonso Calderón, has applied for a reference to the university to try to understand the reason and the solution. What lots of them see clearly, among them the neighbourhood´s movements, is the relationship between the mine and the filtrations and above all, the lack of a study which had foreseed this situation before the closing.

In spite of the existence of a plan of Mine´s restoration, and the relation cause-effect is getting clearer, the       company has rejected any

  Ainara Gutierrez, Javier Ruiz
Colegio La Paz, Torrelavega (Cantabria)

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