Spain assigns personality status to Mar Menor lagoon

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MADRID (TSWT) – Spain on Wednesday granted personality status to a large saltwater lagoon that has become massively extinct from marine life, a new law following a civilian-led effort to better protect the endangered ecosystem.

The initiative, backed by more than 600,000 citizens, will become law after the Spanish Senate votes in favor of giving the Mar Menor lagoon on Spain’s southeastern coast the status of a person, the first time such a measure has been taken in Spain. taken.

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A total of 1,600 square kilometers (994 square miles) of the lagoon and nearby Mediterranean coast will now be legally represented by a group of caretakers made up of local officials, local citizens and scientists working in the area. The grassroots group that implemented the measure hopes it will improve its ability to protect the lagoon from further degradation.

For years, ecologists and citizens have denounced the periodic dieback of marine life in the lagoon due to fertilizer runoff from nearby farms.

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“In order to ensure that natural disasters such as those that have occurred, so that the periods of death of fauna of the Mar Menor do not return, let us give this ecosystem its own rights,” said Senator María Moreno before the vote.

The law codifies the right of the lagoon “to exist as an ecosystem and evolve naturally” and recognize the right to protection, conservation and restoration.

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In 2017, New Zealand passed a landmark law granting personality status to the Whanganui River.

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