The environmental organization Ecologists in Action from the Spanish province of Ciudad Real has filed a complaint with Seprona, the Nature Protection Service of the Guardia Civil, because thousands of onions have been dumped in the volcanic nature reserve Maar de la Hoya del Mortero, a protected area in the province of Castile-La Mancha which is also included in the European network of protected natural areas Natura 2000. It is part of both the Special Protection Areas (SPAs) established under the 'Birds Directive' (1979) and the Special Protection Areas (SAC) established under the 'Habitats Directive' (1992).
Sources of the environmental organization have stated to the Spanish news service Efe that thousands of onions have been dumped in recent days. "This has happened several times and the regional government has just looked the other way."
“This is certainly not the first time. We recently saw the same happens in Salicor, Posadilla and Navas de Malagón, all natural areas that are also included in the Natura 2000 network and are Protected Areas of Castile-La Mancha."
According to the environmental organization, it is a crime for three reasons. "First of all, because of the dumping itself, which is illegal, but also because of the waste of the thousands of liters of water that were needed to cultivate those onions, and lastly, because it is food that is wasted while many people are going hungry."
The organization recalled that growing 1 kg of onions requires 272 liters of water, which entails the use of between 3,500 and 4,500 cubic meters per hectare. "This water footprint is not sustainable in an area where water scarcity has become a structural problem," said Ecologists in Action.