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Tarragona, Spain

The community of La Pineda beach in Tarragona experienced a massive spill of plastic pellets, the primary product for plastic manufacturing, in 2018. We have evidence they were spilled from nearby petrochemical industry, they should be held accountable!

Summary of the situation

The Spanish Mediterranean sea is threatened by all types of industries and human pressure. One of them is plastic pellet spills that are found at many locations on this part of this coast. In 2018, the local surf community of Tarragona reported a huge spill at La Pineda beach covering the whole beach in pellets, also know as mermaid tears or nurdles. Without anyone held accountable for this spill, 2 years later, the plastic pellets can be found on the beaches every day, but also in the sea and the nearby Balearic islands. Surfrider will support the local group Good Karma Projects in their campaign to hold industry accountable.

The Defenders

With the local support of our Spanish team and our Surfrider chapter in Barcelona, the guys of Good Karma Project will take that lead in this campaign. Good Karma is a local NGO that was founded in 2017 by two surfers and engineers with the mission of positively inspiring society to adopt a healthier and more respectful lifestyle with the planet and its inhabitants. Good Karma Projects has been working since 2018, collecting microplastic samples on beaches and through the Mediterranean with a manta trawl.

Environmental status

On several occasions and especially in 2018, the beach of La Pineda was absolutely covered in a blanket of plastic pellets. As they are microplastics, it is impossible to clean the beach from them, therefore any pellet will pose a risk to our food chain, marine life and therefore human health. Similar pellets were found throughout the whole marine region which requires further research if they have the same source.

Legal context

A legal action started by local groups, and an investigation by the local water authority is already ongoing that we support, and feed with information about local conditions and samples taken since 2018.

Our request

Pellet spills have been occurring since petrochemical companies were installed in the 1960’s. Our demand is that industry in Tarragona has applied real measures to solve these spills.