Número 40 | Third trimester 2016

Green filters to bring back a blue Mar Menor

Abstract

El Mar Menor, an emblematic location within the Murcia Region and the largest saltwater lagoon in Europe is covered by different degrees of protection. Nevertheless, during recent months it has been subject to eutrophication (the depletion of oxygen in a body of water), due to the presence of excess nutrients.
This problem, which is not new to the area, has been more pronounced this summer. The lagoon's ability to self-regulate itself has proven insufficient in the face of this form of pollution, thus making it necessary to take urgent measures to reverse the situation.
To this end, plans have been drawn up to construct a green filter at the mouth of La Rambla del Albujón, from whose basin the majority of the nutrients originate.
The green filters, which are natural ecological, sustainable water purification systems that combine the actions of the soil, plants and denitrifying bacteria, enable the recovery of the water resources and the reintroduction of nutrients into the cycle in the form of environmentally-friendly products. This type of artificial wetland has already been successfully implemented in other areas in Spain and seems to be a good solution to the problem of eutrophication along our coast.