Asturias Pollution and Conservation

This part of Spain is one of the best conserved in the entire country, and full of vegetation and wild spaces. It holds two of the most important natural parks in Spain, and is very renowned for the Picos de Europa and Somiedo areas.

The Gijón area was marked and singled out as one of the pollution hotspots in Western Europe in a 2015 report from the International Institute for Applied Science Systems, where predictions for 2030 conditions were made. Gijón was marked much higher than any other Spanish metro area, in spite of the much larger populations in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. This was attributed to heavy industrial activities. Since outdoor air pollution is a major cause of premature death in Europe, the excessive pollution is a major concern for Asturias. The majority of Asturias population live within a 25 kilometres (16 mi) range from the port of Gijón, so pollution would be likely to heavily affect the population.

A Spanish government study conducted in 2010 regarding life expectancy in relative communities, Asturias was ranked lowest (tied with Andalucia) for male life expectancy with 76.7 years from 2007 readings. However, female life expectancy was 84 years and normal among autonomous communities. However, even the male life expectancy is only just below Western European standards, and exaggerated by the high Spanish life expectancy. Considering that many Asturians live in relatively close proximity to Gijón’s heavily industrial areas, these figures (especially for female relative health) still contribute to a position that Gijón is a safe location to live. The numbers for “disability-free” life expectancy has risen significantly both for males and females in the area since 1986, according to the report.

Update: the coal fired electric generating plant, Aboño, completed a Spanish government/EU demand to install equipment to drastically reduce its emissions. Also, the other two major polluters – Arcelor Gijón and Arcelor Avilés – have announced an investment of 100 million euros to do the same. These factories have been a major cause of the area’s high airborne pollution.

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