Spain Is Banging Its Head over Heavy Metal
The region in Spain near the Guadiamar River is still reeling from an ecological disaster that took place one year ago, when the waste reservoir of a nearby zinc mine burst open and spilled more than one billion gallons of toxic slurry into the river, flooding hundreds of farms. The noxious waste has contaminated the wetlands of Coto de Donana on the coast of southern Andalusia, one of the most important wildlife reserves in Europe, and the surrounding area, a European equivalent of the Everglades. The mine company has spent more than $52 million on cleanup, and crews have hauled away 12 million tons of contaminated mud, but high levels of heavy metals remain in the soil and water and have found their way into wildlife. Predators as far away as Northern Europe and West Africa are likely to eat birds contaminated by the spill.