Every time we go to the dustbins these days, we are greeted (most of us) by an array of contenadores to put our waste in – glass, plastic, paper and general garbage. The general one – at least – is then hauled off six nights a week to some vile destination known only to the seagulls. Some people prefer to leave their trash in the fields or in the verges; some throw it off a handy cliff (video here, yes, he’s been identified by the police) while others neatly leave it next to the contenador (for company, maybe?), but most of us know to gamely lever up the heavy and sticky lid and to push our bin-liner of kitchen garbage into the box and out of our lives.
Waste management is, of course, a lot larger problem than Sr López from next door forgetting to divide the glass from the plastic in his trash, and probably reckons it’s a waste of time anyway.
We gamely consider buying an electric car (maybe next year) and console ourselves that the ugly wind-turbines that dot the Spanish countryside are at least clean and save on the diesel-burning power stations – not that we see any difference in our electricity bill.
|The accidental fire in Seseña, June 2016|
Yet, our environment is still dirtier than ever. Madrid, Barcelona and Granada have been recently fined by Brussels for unhealthy levels of smog, while our practical solution to destroying plastic and rubber waste (by an accidental fire) and our record for being the second largest polluter of the Mediterranean (after Turkey) is not a happy one.
Worse still, the junk bled into the seas from our cruise ships, and into the skies with our airplanes, means that, unlike Sr López, we are simply fiddling while Rome burns.