A sea of plastic in the Alpujarras?
Around the Alpujarras plastic greenhouses are creeping in one by one. In Torvizcon there is a giant plastico carved high into the dry mountainside. It spans an area of about 20 hectares and can be seen from the surrounding villages. Lots and lots of money was spent on this project. Was European grant money used? Water is scarce so huge borewell drilling equipment was hired and we believe two borewells have been sunk approximately 300 metres deep!
Cherry tomatoes are being grown with water pumped up from the acquifa. Meanwhile tomatoes are being sold to supermarkets in the UK, France and Germany etc. So desperately needed water from a semi-desert environment is sent off inside the cherry tomatoes to countries who have plenty of water. It takes lots of energy to pump up the water and then transport the crops. Euro:Castel are members of La Palma - the second largest exporter of cherry tomatoes in Spain.
Unsustainable water usage -
theft of water.
Unsustainable energy use - thousands of food miles.
Unsustainable land use - chemicals - visually pollutes the landscape.
The acquifa is being treated as an infinite supply of water. It is not. It is a reserve and to take from it reduces its level with real results for the whole area. Springs and riverbeds dry up, trees die, desert sets in. Since the Euro:Castel greenhouse two neighbouring springs have dried up. In general borewells take something valuable without paying for it. Licenced borewell companies rely on there being no direct proof that they affect any one individual's water supply. This new technology raises a new legal and political question- is borewell drilling theft?