NERJA’S illegal dump at Rio de la Miel reportedly attracted fines since its opening in 2000, but this did nothing to bring about its closure.
Alberto Armijo, Deputy Chief of Employment, European Resources and New Technology at the Provincial Government, says he was “never” ordered to close the site by the Junta de Andalucia.
Officers from the Guardia Civil have now arrested 12 people, are investigating 25 others and have confiscated 170 items worth €5 million following the scandal.
The investigation, which began in August last year, has also uncovered a potential fraud worth €2.5 million case to cover the costs that would have been incurred if the waste had been disposed of legally. The council say the costs to return the site to normal could now amount to over €10 million.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has labelled the landfill “a genuine environmental disaster” and has been investigating the matter following complaints filed by the Association of Construction and Demolition Waste Management Companies of Andalusia (AGRECA) and by the Spanish Federation of Associations of Construction Waste Management Companies and Demolition, for illegal and uncontrolled dumping of construction and demolition waste, hazardous waste, pruning waste as well as vegetation, plastics.
The site, which is located in the National Park of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama, to the east of Nerja, was previously a working quarry owned by the council. The area was later used as a dumping ground for 16 years, between 2000 and September 2016.
So far it has been discovered the site was used and managed by a group of companies in Nerja’s construction sector in breach of council rules. These companies were engaged in major collection and transportation of construction and demolition waste, including hazardous wastes, which were subsequently dumped at the illegal landfill site.