GREEN DISASTER IN ORIHUELA COSTA
Only a few months ago, the Green Party Mayor of Orihuela and his Green Party Councillor for Orihuela Costa, told us that they had found the environmentalists' dream solution to the problem of garden waste in Orihuela Costa. Instead of it being transported for disposal to Crevillente 50 kilometres away it would be collected and transported to San Pedro del Pinatar a few kilometres down the coast where it would be crushed, transformed into pellets for ecological energy production or fertiliser and sold. Orihuela Costa would be sustainably clean with much saving of taxpayers' money. To be clear, we are talking about Orihuela Costa taxpayers' money since only we pay for removal of garden waste (in our water bills) whereas residents elsewhere in the municipality, where there is supposedly no garden waste, do not pay for this service in addition to the normal property/council tax which we all pay
Unfortunately, the dream is shattered. C.L.A.R.O. visited the site in San Pedro where the garden waste is supposed to be processed. It is closed and has been for several weeks. Garden waste has been cumulating for weeks without being processed and it is now literally bursting at the seams of the site.
The consequenc is that Orihuela Costa garden waste has to be transported once again to Crevillente, 50 costly kilometres away. But since the Town Hall is not willing to pay for the transport of all the garden waste created in Orihuela Costa much of it is allowed to accumulate in the streets for weeks and in some places it lines pavements for 50 metres or more.
As we know from experience, when garden waste is left uncollected for long periods of time, it provides an excuse for other sorts of rubbish to be dumped on top of it. The photos show that this includes big rubbish items like sofas and mattresses which reflect the fact that there is no established big rubbish disposal site (ecoparque) or organised collection service. But domestic waste is also thrown on to these pavement dumps and this of course encourages vermin and other pests, especially in the hot, summer months. C.L.A.R.O. has received complaints about rats and cockroaches infesting several places where garden waste has been left uncollected for long periods of time. This is shameful and unacceptable. And what an advertisement for the tourist attraction of Orihuela Costa!
Of course not a word of explanation about this situation has been offered by the government or Councillor for the Coast. They prefer to leave us in ignorance and hope we continue paying our special garden waste tax (podas) despite not getting the service we are paying for. They must hope that we do not notice that there is again a problem of garden waste disposal in Orihuela Costa, as there was in July in the height of the summer, also denounced by C.L.A.R.O., before the so-called dream solution was found. If this is what we get for Green Party governance, for the sake of Orihuela Costa, let us change colour and change government as soon as possible.
In the course of C.L.A.R.O's investigation into this new garden waste problem, we discovered the disgraceful conditions which have had to be supported by the workers who are doing their best to provide Orihuela Costa with street cleaning and rubbish removal services. For many years the rubbish collection vehicles, together with vehicle cleaning and maintenance facilities, as well as suitable changing rooms and toilets for the workers were concentrated on the N332 beside the petrol station at Campoamor. Several months ago, allegedly when the owner of the site got fed up with Orihuela Town Hall not paying for the use of his site, the vehicles were hastily moved to a piece of municipally owned land in Pau 26, beside the motorway bridge near Dream Hills. We discovered that this site has had no electricity or piped running water or proper facilities for workers. Consequently the rubbish disposal vehicles cannot be cleaned or maintained – even simple maintenance tasks have to be carried out in Orihuela. Only recently, after robbers stole diesel fuel has the site been fenced. Improvements may be under way but until very recently, the workers had no proper facilities for changing and there were disgusting arrangements for so-called toilets which had to be flushed with a garden hose. What is more, the crew includes women for whom these conditions must be humiliating.
How can this so called progressive government of Socialists and Greens treat its workers in this disgraceful fashion? Antonia Moreno, the leader of the Socialist group, PSOE, the strongest in the government, tries to justify the building of new offices for the Town Hall in Orihuela city on the grounds that the offices are too cramped and do not respect the labour laws of hygiene and working space for office workers. Thank goodness this unnecessary project has been voted down by the Popular Party and C.L.A.R.O., who have a majority in the full council but are prevented from governing because of the determination of the Greeen Party- Socialist minority government to stick to their seats and collect their salaries, regardless of the consequences for the people living in Orihuela, city and coast.