Report on environment in Spain

A report published by the Spanish Ministry for the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs shows that Spain’s environmental profile has both good and bad points. For example, on the positive side there is the increased use of renewable energy or the amount of water saved but on the other hand the excessive use of the road transport system, the increased use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture or increased air contamination in large cities are all negative aspects.

The 5th report on the environment which has just been published by Ministry of the Environment and Rural Affairs gives details of the environmental situation in Spain and includes detailed maps of each region in Spain.

The Secretary of State for Climate Change, Teresa Ribera, has pointed out that the report includes 77 indicators in 14 distinct areas of the Spanish territory and that advances towards a different environmental culture can be seen as well as an improved relationship between society and the environment.

One of these indicators is the more economic use of water, the increase in recycling rubbish and the increased demand for organic agriculture.

The report also shows that in 2007 renewable energy produced more electricity than nuclear energy. However, on the negative side, the report shows that 18% of Spanish territory is under threat from desertification and that air pollution has increased.
With respect to air quality greenhouse gases, those which cause climate change, increased by 2.1% in 2007 with respect to the levels recorded for the previous year. In 2008 they went down although this also coincides with the start of the current economic crisis. The report also found that contaminating particles in the air also increased in cities.

With regards to water average household consumption is situated at approximately 160 litres per person per day which is 3.

6% less than the previous year. The agricultural use of water also went down by 3.9%. The report also highlights the significant increase in desalination which has gone up by 11% over the last year. With respect to the quality of water only 1.7% is contaminated.

The report also shows that the amount of land which has been built on in Spain has increased by five times more than the rest of the EU since 1990 and the use of fertilizers in agriculture increased from 118 to 134 kilos per hectare which increases the possibility of land contamination.

The amount of rubbish generated is on average 558 kilos per inhabitant per year which is substantially less than the 662 kilos per inhabitant recorded in 2000. The recycling of paper and glass and in some cases plastics has become a daily habit for many Spaniards.

For the first time the report includes a map indicating noise levels. It shows that noise levels in cities are often above acceptable levels. Figures show that 1.4 million people are exposed to noise from busy roads, 78,000 people suffer from noise produced by railways and 143,000 people are affected by noise pollution produced by airports.