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Industrial complex in Pontevedra, Spain


The Pontevedra river hosts several very polluting industries which have dumped their wastes into the river for many years. These industries are: ENCE, a pulp mill and biomass energy producer located by the river in 1963 and ELNOSA, a chemical company which produces chlorine-derivates.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Industrial complex in Pontevedra, Spain
State or province:Galicia
Location of conflict:Pontevedra
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Chemical industries
Specific commodities:Elnosa - Production Of Chlorine And Derivates

Ence - Paper & Pulp & Energy
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

ENCE company: capcity of celulose production: 430,000 tonnes/year

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Project area:60
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:963,511
Start of the conflict:1963
Company names or state enterprises:Ence from Spain - pulp mill industry and biomass energy producer
ELNOSA from Portugal - chemical complex
Relevant government actors:Galician regional government, Pontevedra Town Council, Spanish government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Asociación pola defensa da ría de Pontevedra, Verdegaia, Plataforma 2018, Salvemos Pontevedra
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:Restore and recover the affected area of La Ría
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Both factories are still working. Besides, the end-date of 2018, when the public land concession would be finished and the factories would be supposed to stop or be relocated, has been extended by the Spanish Ministry of Environment. Also, the ENCE company was condemned by the Spanish Courts (6 of the company representatives were condemned) but activists allege they never went to jail and the fine was never paid.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Ley 2/2013, de 29 de mayo, de protección y uso sostenible del litoral y de

modificación de la Ley 22/1988, de 28 de julio, de Costas:
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

web with the history of the ENCE industry:
[click to view]

newspaper article: (1/1/2014) Medio Ambiente renueva los permisos ambientales de Ence y Elnosa. El Pais:
[click to view]

newspaper article. Honorato, V. (15/6/2011) Una sentencia obliga a paralizar la actividad de Ence en Pontevedra. El Pais:
[click to view]

Newspaper article. Honorato, V. (6/6/2011). Ence sigue contaminando, pero menos. El Pais:
[click to view]

Newspaper article. (27/5/2008). Ence vierte cada día 14.443 kilos de residuos a la ría de Pontevedra. La voz de Pontevedra:
[click to view]

Newspaper article. EFE (6/11/2002). Condenados por delito ecológico en Galicia seis directivos de Ence. El Pais:
[click to view]

Blog with newspaper articles. (26/04/2008). 3.000 manifestantes piden en Pontevedra el traslado de Ence.
[click to view]

[click to view]

newspaper article. (2013). Cientos de personas rechazan en Pontevedra las prórrogas para que Ence y Elnosa puedan consolidarse junto a la ría. La información:
[click to view]

newspaper article: Honorato, V. (12/11/2013). El Pais. Ence admite ahora que nunca se planteó trasladar la fábrica de Pontevedra.
[click to view]

Newspaper article. Gago, M (24/11/2013). La voz de Pontevedra:
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

youtube clip:
[click to view]

youtube clip on a protest:
[click to view]

youtube clip:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Amaranta Herrero
Last update03/05/2014
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