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9.5. Main environmental problems of Aragon

Main environmental problems of Aragon

Aragon has the same environmental problems as the rest of the Autonomous Communities, although due to its characteristics (industrial development, population distribution, climate, etc.) it has some peculiarities.
The population density is quite low, about 28 inhabitants per square kilometer, but most of its inhabitants are concentrated in Zaragoza, so environmental problems vary greatly from one area to another.
The main environmental problems are:

Water-related environmental problems

  • Uneven distribution of water resources. Despite the fact that the Ebro river crosses Aragón from northwest to southeast, there are areas in which, at certain times, there are supply problems, even for human consumption. On the other hand, irrigation systems (by flooding) do not optimize water as much as other more modern irrigation systems, such as drip.
  • Surface water quality. The quality of river water is being lost due to the following causes:
    • Transport of natural mineral salts.
    • Decrease in flows due to contributions to irrigated areas.
    • Contribution of fertilizers and pesticides from excess irrigation water.
    • Industrial contamination.
    • Urban pollution in areas with the highest concentration of population.
  • Aquifer depletion and contamination. Agricultural and industrial overexploitation causes the depletion and salinization of aquifers.

Loss of soil and desertification

In Aragon the loss of soil stands out , being, after Murcia, the Autonomous Community with the greatest erosion. The cause is related to the loss of the vegetation cover due to human activities, or due to changes in the slopes, which increase the risk of erosion. Fires also contribute to the loss of soil and biodiversity.

Soil contamination

In addition to the usual contamination of the soils that we have seen in the corresponding section, we must highlight the case of contamination by lindane, a highly carcinogenic pesticide. A company from Sabiñánigo illegally dumped the waste into municipal landfills, contaminating the waters of the Gallego river basin, from which several populations are supplied. This case is so extremely dangerous that some have even called it "The Spanish Chernobyl".


Soil and lindane decontamination project: Life discovered.

Air pollution and climate change

The main affections to the atmosphere are produced by:

  • Emissions from industry. The emissions from the Andorra thermal power plant (Teruel) stood out due to the high sulfur content of the coal used, but it announced its closure in June 2020.
  • Transport.