Spain grants personal status to the Mar Menor lagoon

MADRID (AP) — Spain on Wednesday granted personhood status to a large saltwater lagoon that has suffered mass mortality of marine life, a new law that comes after a citizen push to better protect the threatened ecosystem. .

The initiative backed by more than 600,000 citizens will become law after the Spanish Senate voted in favor of the proposal to grant the Mar Menor lagoon, on the southeast coast of Spain, the status of person, for the first time…

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MADRID (AP) — Spain on Wednesday granted personhood status to a large saltwater lagoon that has suffered mass mortality of marine life, a new law that comes after a citizen push to better protect the threatened ecosystem. .

The initiative backed by more than 600,000 citizens will become law after the Spanish Senate voted in favor of the proposal to grant the Mar Menor lagoon, on the southeast coast of Spain, the status of person, the first time that such a measure has been taken in Spain.

A total of 1,600 square kilometers (994 square miles) of the lagoon and nearby Mediterranean coastline will now be legally represented by a Guardians Group made up of local officials, local citizens and scientists who work in the area. The grassroots group that pushed the measure hopes it will improve the ability to defend the lagoon against further degradation.

For years, environmentalists and citizens have denounced the periodic disappearance of marine life in the lagoon due to fertilizer runoff from nearby farms.

“So that natural disasters like the ones that have happened, so that the episodes of mortality of the fauna of the Mar Menor do not return, let’s give this ecosystem its own rights,” said Senator María Moreno before the vote.

The law codifies the right of the lagoon “to exist as an ecosystem and to evolve naturally” and recognizes its right to protection, conservation and restoration.

In 2017, New Zealand passed a groundbreaking law granting personal status to the Whanganui River.

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