Spain is below the average of the European Union when it comes to waste management. Only 43% of the total waste produced it is recycled, the remaining 48% of solid waste end up in landfills, dumped in the environment and oceans or incinerated. Of the 48% of dumped waste, 41% is disposed of in landfills, 7% ends up in land, river or marine ecosystems and 1% is incinerated.
Madrid is home to REUCSE's headquarters but also, rivers and lakes that could potentially carry waste into our waters in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. That's the reason why at REUCSE, we have been working to implement cleanup and pevention initiatives around the area.
JARAMA RIVER PROBLEM
This river starts off as the Manzanares in the North of Spain. It makes a strong eastern turn which then flows down into the river Jarama. The Jarama river then flows into the river Tagus around the area of Aranjuez, to empty into the Atlantic Ocean near Lisbon.
A high degree of pollution and general degradation was observed in the Jarama River. The pollution of the area and its waters is mainly related to organic pollution from urban sewage and illegal dumping. An increase in the concentration of trace metals and plastics was found, exceeding toxicological threshold.
REUCSE CLEANUP INITIATIVES
At the end of December, our team, friends and family completed our second cleanup in the forest of San Sebastian de los Reyes and in the Jarama river, the most polluted river in the Autonomous Community of Madrid.
We covered a distance of 3 kilometers and removed a total of 224 kilograms of "waste". We define "waste" as any man-made material that does not belong in the ocean or is damaging to the environment. Among others, the top 5 items we removed were plastic utensils, plastic packaging, furniture and plastic bags.
Members: REUCSE TEAM.
Distance: 3 kilometers along the river.
Kilograms: 224 kilograms of waste removed.
Due to the big pollution seen in the area, where a high degree of pollution and general degradation could be observed in the Jarama River, two sample campaigns were performed. What we discovered was surprising:
Most areas of these rivers did not meet the standards of quality established due to high levels of ammonia and electric conductivity, attributable to the incorporation of water treatment near by.
High levels of nitrate concentration were also discovered, making its use unsuitable for drinking and restricting it for agricultural irrigation.