10 most polluted rivers in Spain - List and details

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For years the European Commission has condemned Spain for the poor state of its rivers. More than 60% of Spanish rivers are contaminated, mainly due to fertilizers, toxic chemicals (from industrial discharges) and herbicides that reach bodies of water through runoff. In addition, other pollutants must be added such as: used furniture and appliances, debris, masks, medicines, plastics, oils and fats, among others.

If you want to know what the most polluted rivers in Spain, what are the reasons for the contamination of the water in Spain or the cause of the eutrophication of these waters, do not stop reading this interesting article by Green Ecologist.

Ríos Miño and its tributary Barbaña

The My no It is a river that is found in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, in the Galician community. This river is highly contaminated by pesticides, detritus and industrial discharges.

Its tributary Beard It is also found severely contaminated Since wastewater is discharged over it, both from urban sources and from spillways and sewers. In addition, it receives leaks from contaminated soils, garbage and industrial waste.

Image: El Progreso

Júcar River

The Júcar river runs through eastern Spain, crossing the provinces of Cuenca, Albacete and Valencia, until it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. According to Ecologists in Action in Cuenca, this river is mainly contaminated by periodic discharge of sewage that are produced in it, coming from several municipalities, due to a lack of purification in its waters.

Image: The Country

Gállego River

Spanish river that flows through the Aragonese community, is a tributary of the river Ebro. From 1975 to 1994 the Gállego River was seriously polluted by a major lindane spill (organochlorine compound) without any control. 26 years later, the river is still affected by the tons of "toxic soup" that are deposited in natural wells or gullies. Luckily there is a Comprehensive Decontamination Plan for the Gállego River with the aim of reducing the flow of water that comes from the rain, so that the sewage treatment plant in the ravine manages to treat all the runoff from the affected area.

Image: The Herald of Aragon

Cinca River

The Cinca River is located in the northeast of Spain, in the territory of Aragon, and flows into the Ebro River. It is seriously polluted by discharges that come from the industrial park of Las Paules in Monzón and by wastewater from the Almunia de San Juan.

Dead fish have been found with a high level of mercury in the blood but, in addition, the river contains traces of DDT, an insecticide that was used in the past that takes more than 60 years to disappear naturally.

Image: Cinca Medio Noticias

Llobregat River

River that runs through the Catalan community has emptied into the Mediterranean Sea. It is contaminated by industrial waste, garbage and medicine, but these are not the only sources of contamination, it also suffers from a excess salinity due to the detritus from the Minas del Bages.

Also the level of its waters has been marked by a great decrease due to the large number of small hydroelectric plants that have been built along its route.

Image: Vila Press

Odiel River and its tributary Tinto

The Odiel river converges with the Tinto river, is born in Sierra de Aracena and belongs to the Atlantic basin of Andalusia. Both have been contaminated by waste from the mines closer. In addition, in the Odiel marshes, there are three phospho-gypsum pools, which contain radioactive sludge.

Image: El Morante

Guadiana River

River located to the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, runs through Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Andalusia, Alentejo and Algarve. Considered a sick river by the tons of agrochemicals that have been poured into it over the years. As a consequence the fish population in the rivers is disappearing without pause.

To this river, in addition, the invasion of camalote is added, which is an exotic plant, not native to this area, and very invasive, so it is damaging the ecosystem of the river.

Image: Life Invas Aqua

Tambre River

Coastal river that is located in Galicia and belongs to the Atlantic slope. It's one of the Spanish rivers most contaminated by bacteria, practically the colonies of Escerichia coli and Enterococci are permanent in its waters, although their concentrations change depending on the time of year.

In addition, there are nightly spills of toxic fluids difficult to detect, but nevertheless the deaths they produce in the river fauna make it clear that they are occurring.

Image: The Galician Post

What is the most polluted river in Spain

Saying exactly which is the most polluted river in Spain is difficult, since all the physical, chemical and biological parameters of each river would have to be accurately analyzed. However, currently, based on the data we have, the river Júcar It is considered the most polluted by the amount of toxic pesticides that it contains, in addition to other sources of contamination that are degrading it.

What is the least polluted river in Spain

The river SeguraIt is usually considered the least polluted river in Spain thanks to debugging that receive the waters that flow through it. In fact, this river was awarded in 2015 for the great environmental recovery projects that were carried out in it.

After reading this information about the rivers in Spain that are most polluted, we recommend you read these other articles by Ecologista Verde:

  • The most polluted rivers in the world.
  • Pollution of lakes and rivers: causes and consequences.
  • How to avoid contamination of rivers.

If you want to read more articles similar to Most polluted rivers in Spain, we recommend that you enter our Pollution category.

  • Duque, A. (August 8, 2022). SER string. The contamination of the Júcar is due to sewage discharges, according to ecologists. Available at: https://cadenaser.com/emisora/2019/08/08/ser_cuenca/1565267472_509763.html
  • Drafting of El Heraldo de Aragón. (June 5, 2022). The Herald of Aragon. The Government of Aragon allocates 4 million to clean the Gállego river of lindane. Available at: https://www.heraldo.es/noticias/aragon/2020/06/05/el-gobierno-de-aragon-destina-4-millones-a-limpiar-de-lindano-el-rio-gallego -1378932.html
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