Adeje Ayuntamiento counters regional Government claim over “contamination” in Taucho Firing Range and commits to environmental restoration of area

Updated 12 February 2019: The Canarian Government’s Environment Department has initiated procedures to declare areas around the Taucho shooting range to be “contaminated”. The measure was taken at the end of last month and follows denuncias, studies and checks last year which showed elevated levels of arsenic and lead from discarded munitions. These are said to be a danger to the public in the area, and the Government says that the action is being taken now because the council hasn’t done the clean-up work required.

Adeje Ayuntamiento itself has said today that it decided voluntarily last June to close the shooting range following information received from the Tenerife Cabildo’s Water Board that mentioned a “minimum possibility” of water contamination as a result of discharged bullets. The council argues that a report was released by the provincial prosecutors office in just the last few days confirming that the case was to be archived since it appeared there was no serious damage to natural resources nor to human health.

In the meantime Adeje says it has been cleaning up the area in question, removing over 80% of residue. Last week after a meeting with the regional vice-director of the environment it has been decided to bring in a specialist company to assist in an environmental recovery plan; new information was presented at the meeting that suggests it could be old ‘platas’ that are t the root of the contaminants detected. They would be over 4 years old as that was when new platas were introduced which are biodegradable.

The council expressed some concern at the lack of clarity in information disseminated to the public by the regional authorities, in particular the alleged “high levels” of contamination when in fact studies have shown levels were low from the first proper study. Regardless of the detail in the war of words, the council says it is 100% commmitted to the environmental restoration of the area, and that it will be taking all necessary measures in future to ensure that the zone will be an example of good environmental practice as well as a sporting benchmark for the Canaries.

Updated 1 June 2018: Adeje Ayuntamiento has closed the Taucho firing range while the Island Water Board considers the application for shooting to be carried out, with the associated spills of lead shot being collected and cleaned up periodically. In the meantime, the council is continuing with its 2016 plan to clean up the spillage of lead at the site in the barranco de Ajabo.

Original post 27 April: Shooting at the Taucho firing range could be suspended by order of the Island Water Board after lead contamination has been found in the barranco de Ajabo alongside the village. The Consejo Insular de Aguas says that the shooting range, which comes under the jurisdiction of Adeje Ayuntamiento, has been found to have left some 24 tons of lead pellets in the bed of the barranco which must now be cleaned by technicians authorized for such residues.

The island’s branch of the political party Podemos says that it has been complaining for years that this is a recognized public-health and environmental problem, and that something should have been done long before now. Party spokesman Fernando Sabaté said that the council has been fined €30,000 by the Canarian Environment Protection Agency for the spillage. Podemos has been joined in recent years by the pressure group Amigos en Defensa de Ajabo to urge the Consejo Insular de Aguas (CIAT), the Cabildo and the local Ayuntamiento to take this action.

Adeje Ayuntamiento for its part says that technicians have confirmed that there is no danger or immediate risk to health, and that the amount of lead found in the Ajabo pozo is low and within established safe limits, and represents no danger of contaminating underground water reserves. The council has a fortnight to reply to the proposal to suspend activity at the range.

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