Donana’s fundamental problem is with water, because there is little, because the aquifer that sustains it is in very poor shape and because climate change projections show things are going to get worse. But the question is not only of quantity, but also of quality, and this has been shown by an investigation that has detected the widespread presence of pesticides – some of which have been banned for years – in the waters and sediments of natural space. This means “a high risk to aquatic organisms and affects the food chain”, in addition to being behind “significant losses” of eggs from birds that do not lay eggs.
Government proposes to purchase fields from farmers in Donana to take them back from cultivation and thus reduce the pressure on the aquifer
This endorsement is signed by Ethel Elzarrat, the principal person in charge of the study. Impact of Agricultural Activities on the Fauna of National Parks, which speculates that “the situation is not dangerous, but it is not ideal for a protected space.” Researchers at the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDEA), an organization affiliated with the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Eljarrat, explain that the presence of these pesticides is common in agricultural areas such as the area around Doñana, but the parameter is high. Are, for example, compared to Damiel’s tables, other scenarios have been analyzed in an investigation that is pending publication.
The study sought, above all, traces of the most hydrophobic fungicides, which, while dissolving with greater difficulty, “have a greater ability to penetrate and accelerate uptake into the organism of living beings.” To do this, both water and soil samples were taken in greenhouses, vineyards, olive groves, rice fields and marsh areas, and all of them detected the presence of pesticides. “This is normal in areas of agricultural activity, the problem is that we are talking about a protected space and it is affecting the organisms that live there”, so he calls for greater control of these pollutants. advocate strengthening because of their toxic effects.
still traces of ddt
The work verified traces of DDT and its derivatives such as organochlorines, which have been banned in Spain since 1978, although they do not appear to have been used in Doñana until recently. “There was a clear problem with these pesticides decades ago and levels are still high today” given their longevity. For this reason, he urges to focus on the use of other products “that are accumulating more and more.”
In this sense, the study confirms the presence of six pesticides banned by the European Union since 2009, such as chlorpyrifos. They have been found in water samples that were taken in 2020 and, if one takes into account that they do not have the ability to persist eleven years after use, this “clearly indicates that Somebody has used them”, which would be an illegal practice. It is also common to find other products that may not be used from 2022, such as oxadiazone, bifenthrin and five other classes.
For these reasons when analyzing water contamination in Donana, Elzarrat points out that there are no noticeable differences between different cultivation areas, although higher concentrations in sediment and traces of organochlorine (DDT) have been detected in rice paddies. . can be seen.. “We believe they were used years ago, but they are so persistent, we do not believe it is current contamination,” he explains, in addition to remembering that “it is a problem which cannot prevent them from being implemented.”
bird eggs that do not develop
In general, pyrethroids are most commonly present in all growing regions, “which have a lower bioaccumulation factor than organochlorines, which means they are not as toxic, but they are not as harmless.” In fact, it has been proven over the years that they accumulate in organisms “that are not as ideal as they seemed”.
Another part of the study focused on confirming pesticide levels in the infertile eggs of birds sampled from black kites, booted eagles, white storks and purple herons, which still resulted in “very marked contamination”. by DDT and derivatives. The presence of toxic agents causes shell thinning, which translates into “significant losses and significant reductions in populations”. Over the years (eggs analyzed from 2000 to 2020) DDT levels A decrease can be observed, whereas pyrethroids appear to be very present.
In short, and with all this data, Eljarrat is committed to increased inspections to avoid the use of prohibited products. “There is controversy because of the lack of water in Donana, but we must not forget about quality,” he maintains, adding that control of contaminants should be maximized in protected areas in his opinion. And it is that, in terms of water quality, he believes that with Doñana “a lot of emphasis was placed after the Aznalçollar spill, but now it seems that they have been forgotten”.
“We must deal with these high levels”
For his part, Eloy Revilla, director of the Dona Biological Station (an institution affiliated with CSIC), acknowledges that this study “shows that there is a problem with pesticides, that these high levels must be stopped and controls established “. “The results are very compelling,” he said, warning that the situation could have negative effects “on the environment and on the value of agricultural products.” As an example, he gives what could happen if an analysis was done in one of the main importing countries of the region’s fruit that revealed high levels of these pesticides, “we would have a big problem. ”
The organization’s representative in the Doñana Participation Council, Juan Romero, draws attention to the harmful and polluting potential of some products from Ecologistas en Excion “that have been withdrawn from the market but are still used because they are too harmful for pest control”. are effective”. To this they say that, qualitatively, the chemical state of Doñana’s water “is greatly deteriorated”, two indicators that in their opinion come to speak of agricultural pressure in the environment of the natural area.
“Private interest is overriding the public, which is superior and above all, because Donna is also humanity’s heritage”, and incidentally he regrets that “the issue of pesticides cries to heaven” as it delve into the loss of biodiversity. Is. “Either Donna has an agricultural reconstruction, focusing on ecological production, or Donna has no future.”