Spain's Ercros chemicals rapped for ‘lack of transparency’

Madrid –Spanish environment journalists’ body APIA has handed Ercros its critical ‘Via Crucis’ award for lack of transparency in reporting its chemical-residues dumping activities in the town of Flix, Catalonia.

The body said it was shocked that Ercros, one of Spain’s three biggest chemical suppliers, had never communicated the site’s contaminant rates and that nothing was known until the release of a report by environment and science think tank CSIC.

“They never gave any information about this and we only found out through CSIC. They have to communicate the good and bad news too, you know,” an APIA official told PRWeek Worldwire.

Apia will hand over the awards, voted for by 130 members, on December 2. APIA members include a range of media, PR and government bodies including broadcaster RTVE, PR firm Inforpress and department-store chain El Corte Ingles.

Ercros would not comment on the accusations. It is considering weather to attend the ceremony, according to a spokeswoman with the company’s Barcelona-based PR firm Sigla Comunicacion.

Ercros’ Communications Director Teresa Conesa could not be reached for comment.

There has been much controversy surrounding Ercros dumping activities at the Flix swamp, located near its large industrial facilities.

The CSIC report, launched in September, said the swamp contained residues totalling 300,000 tonnes of which 70-100 tonnes lay deposited in its depths.

In press releases following the CSIC report, Ercros said it had invested €40 million to curb and treat the industrial residues. It added that the government granted its appeal against a Euro1,515 fine from a local environment agency which alleged residue-dumping violations at Flix. Ercros said it will collaborate with the Catalan government to establish a commission to monitor the area’s pollutants.

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