Last update:
2018-10-06

Chemical Industry in Flix, Tarragona, Spain

More than 700,000 cubic meters of toxic waste containing substances such as mercury, cadmium and toxic organochlorine components were dumped for decades by the Ecros company in the Ebro river.


Description:

The Flix water reservoir, in Tarragona, has been receiving the impacts of the toxic chemical industry for more than a century. More than 700,000 cubic meters of toxic waste containing substances such as mercury, cadmium and other toxic organochlorine components (such as hexachlorobenzene, PCBs or DDT) have been dumped by the Ecros company to the Ebro river from Flix.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Chemical Industry in Flix, Tarragona, Spain
Country:Spain
State or province:Tarragona
Location of conflict:Flix
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Chemical industries
Specific commodities:Chemical products
Pesticides
In 1949, After The Construction Of The Flix Hydroelectrical Power Station, It Also Starts Working A Chlorine/Soda Electrolysis Plant With A Mercury Cell.
In 2004, The Manufactured Commodities Were: Chlorine (150.000 Tonnes/Year), Soda, Chlorine Derivatives And Dicalcium Phosphate (740.000 Tonnes/Year).

In The Past, The Company Also Produced Ddt Pesticide As Well As Pcbs And Chlorine Solvents.
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 1949, after the construction of the Flix hydroelectrical power station, a chlorine/soda electrolysis plant with a mercury cell also began operation.

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Type of populationRural
Affected Population:4000
Start of the conflict:1897
Company names or state enterprises:Ercros from Spain
Relevant government actors:Catalan Regional government, Spanish Ministry of Environment
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace, Ecologistes en Acció Catalunya, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas [CSIC]
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
NGOs
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Infectious diseases, Deaths, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
The company radically reduced its activities in 2013. It fired more than 75% of its workers.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:There was no visible opposition beyond the petition of national environmental organisation and scientific bodies who were concerned by the level of pollution of the Ebro river.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

la Directiva EURATOM 96/29 y del Real decreto 783/2001 –que aprobó el Reglamento sobre protección sanitaria contra las radiaciones ionizantes– en relación a la afectación de los trabajadores que deberán manipular los sedimentos.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Greenpeace Report. Consecuencias Ocultas. El coste de la contaminación

Historia ambiental de la planta electroquímica de Flix. El Principio de Precaución frente al paradigma del crecimiento. Autora: Marta Pujadas Garriga. Revista de historia industrial, ISSN 1132-7200, Nº. 62, 2016, págs. 75-108

Sempere, J., Martínez-Iglesias, M and García, E., (2008) Vertidos tóxicos en el Ebro junto a Flix en Ciencia, conflictos ciudadanos y conflictos socioecológicos. p.9: , movimientos ciudadanos y conflictos socioecológicos.pdf
[click to view]

industrial del agua para las personas, el planeta y sobre los beneficios económicos. El caso de Flix.
[click to view]

Marta Pujadas, 2015, La creació d'un passiu ambiental. Historia de la planta química de Flix al riu Ebre 1897-2013. ICTA.UAB. Barcelona
[click to view]

Contaminación en Flix:
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Newspaper article. La contaminación en Flix pone en peligro la fauna del Ebro. EL Pais. 2008:
[click to view]

Newspaper article. La Confederación del Ebro abre expediente a Ercros por el vertido de mercurio. El Pais. 2002:
[click to view]

Briefing. Embalse de Flix: un vertedero de residuos tóxicos:
[click to view]

Newspaper article. El tramo catalán del río Ebro está enfermo. 2012. La Vanguardia:
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Arturo Hortas, Flix - atur o miseria
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Amaranta Herrero
Last update18/08/2019
Comments
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