Neighbors of the beaches closed by the Mar Menor anoxia episode express their desolation on the seventh day of the appearance of dead fish and crustaceans
She looks out to sea with both hands on her head; he, crouched, takes a photo of the dead fish on the shore. She changes posture and puts a hand to her mouth; he holds her for a while in that position. It is the image of desolation. Here in Playa Honda, on the seventh day of the anoxia episode that has killed thousands of fish and crustaceans in the Mar Menor, the water has taken on a toxic yellowish hue. Unthinkable to put a foot.
“If you go in there, your skin will fall off in strips,” says a neighbor, as he watches a dead cuttlefish float by within reach of two seagulls, flying over the sick sea. “Not even the scavengers dare to eat it,” adds the man.
The majestic sandy area is closed to the bathroom. The red flag is flying for the fourth day in a row. The few users who are on the beach sunbathing bear the fetid smell of decomposing fish. «At night it is worse; the stench is so nauseating that we have to close the windows, ”says María José Melchor, a woman from Madrid who has been spending the last four years in this area. Carmen, from Catalonia and owner of an apartment in Playa Honda, highlights the deathly silence that invades the beach. It’s all very sad. The neglect here is terrible, it is ashamed and you want to cry. I am seeing it and I still do not believe that they have come to this and everything so that a few fill their pockets selling lettuce », criticism.
Elena Pérez. Sailing monitor
«It is devastating; I’ve been crying for two days. The sea is dying and it will take decades to recover it »
Pedro Almero. Neighbour
«Here they have thrown some spill that does not come from the Albujón ravine, because the riverbed is dry»
Maria Briones. Neighbor
“There are many flies and mosquitoes, which are feeding on the decomposing fish”
José María Pérez. Neighbour
“They lied when they told us that DANA caused fish kills in 2019, and now they are fooling us again”
Today, the dead animals are not seen, because the municipal workers of the Cartagena City Council removed them on Saturday, but they are. Out to sea, a few meters from shore, the bottom is a carpet of fish, shrimp, hermit and crab carcasses. This is confirmed by Elena Pérez, monitor of a sailing school on Cavanna beach, also closed to the bathroom. He says he saw blue crabs crawling up the jellyfish nets to get to the surface and breathe. “It was Dantesque,” he says.
Elena has prepared an activity for the children for today. “Save little fish,” he explains. There are fish on this shore. Some dead; other dying. Paula, a four-year-old girl, carries a small pink salabre in one hand. Inside the net are three dying fish – two maidens and a fox – which he carefully introduces into a bucket of water.
A cuttlefish floats by within reach of two seagulls, flying over the sick sea. “Not even scavengers eat it”
In the bucket there are about twenty of them that seem to revive. “We will throw them into the canal, where the water is better,” explains the monitor. Neighbors of the urbanizations near the Cavanna hotel spend the morning rescuing fish. Javi Benito, a young man from Madrid, has filled ten buckets in two hours. “We will have saved about two thousand animals.” Together with the residents, a checkpoint of forest agents do the same. However, their catches will not have the second chance that the neighbors offer. The fate of these animals will be a ditch in a dune where they will be buried, along with the thousands of kilos of specimens that the Mar Menor continues to vomit.
At the door of the hotel that gives its name to the beach, a boy puts several suitcases in his car. He explains that he and his partner are leaving after spending four days on vacation. And we will not return. We saw what was going on, but we couldn’t cancel the reservation we had made and came with low expectations. But the situation has exceeded our worst omens. On Thursday we tried to bathe in the cloudy water and ran out. In the days that followed, everything got worse until it resembled a Chernobyl sea. I feel very sorry for the people who live on it and who live here, “he laments.