MERCURY : OCEANA DENOUNCES SPAIN'S CHLORINE-ALKALI INDUSTRIES.
The organisation for the protection of oceans, Oceana, lodged a complaint to the European Commission, on 13 February, against the agreements reached between the Spanish government and the authorities of five regions (Aragon, Galicia, Cantabria, Cataluna and Andalucia), authorising the chlorine-alkali industries based in these territories to use mercury cells until 2020. These agreements, underlines the NGO, violate the 1996 Directive 96/61/EC, which called for the elimination of this obsolete and contaminating technology by 30 October 2007.
EU legislation requires all member states to eliminate contaminants from chlorine-alkali plants, promoting the use of best available techniques (BAT). Furthermore, the OSPAR Convention for the Conservation of the North East Atlantic also agreed to the elimination of this practice.
Despite the legislation, the Spanish government and various governments of autonomous regions reached voluntary agreements with the chemical industry to prolong the period for eliminating this technology. This complaint directly targets eight companies:
- Andalucia: Aragonesas Industrias y Energia, S.A. (Palos de la Frontera, Huelva);
- Aragon: Aragonesas Industrias y Energia, S.A (Sabinanigo, Huesca) and Quimica del Cinca S.A. (Monzon, Huesca)
- Cantabria: Solvay Quimica, S.L. (Torrelavega)
- Cataluna: Aragonesas Industrias y Energia, S.A. (Vila-Seca, Tarragona); Ercros Industrial, S.A. (Flix, Tarragona) and Hispavic Iberica, S.L. (Martorell, Barcelona)
- Galicia: Electroquimica y Electroquimica del Noroeste, S.A: (Lourizan, Pontevedra) .