! Murcia Today – New green filters will remove 60% of Mar Menor nitrates
8 wetlands will clean contaminated water from the aquifer and remove almost a thousand tons of nitrates every year
The Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition intends to transform 300 hectares around the Mar Menor lagoon to clean up 5.3 cubic hectometres of water that will be pumped from underground per year. This would make it possible to eliminate 968 tonnes of nitrates discharged into the lagoon every year, eliminating 60% of these toxic compounds which, combined with other elements such as phosphates, cause the proliferation of macroalgae dangerous for the ecosystem.
This natural solution promoted by the Spanish central government to lower the water table of the Quaternary aquifer under the Mar Menor basin deviates from the approach of the regional government of Murcia. Instead, local authorities chose to redirect groundwater to a plant to remove nitrates and reuse the water for irrigating farmland.
The ministry is investing more than 450 million euros in the plan, part of which will be used to buy back private farmland or pay “rent” to landlords to plant suitable plants that will trap and lock in nitrates.
Image 1: Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica
Images 2 & 3: Zoe Cooper