Spain continues to ignore methane and ammonia limits

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Caption: A cattle heard move through a dry area of shrub land in Spain. Source: Max Pixel 


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A warning issued by the UN regarding the need to change the way we manufacturer and manage our food production has been directly aimed at the Spanish food market.

The ever increasing market for food production is contributing to nearly 23 per cent of the greenhouse gases emitted by Spain every year. Activities such as cabin digestion, fertilizer application and manure management are the largest sources of harmful gases in the country.

Despite the increasing popularity of vegetarianism and veganism, the livestock farming sector is growing year on year.

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According to figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture, the number of pigs per head in the country has topped a record high of 31 million, whilst the cattle number hits 6.6 million. Chickens and laying hens also are at record numbers at 31 million and 50 million respectively.

Since 2010, Spain has not yet adhered to the limits of harmful gases produced by livestock farming, regularly exceeding the limits set by the UN. For nearly 10 years the levels of methane and ammonia have been regularly higher than allowed.

The ever increasing stain that farming places on the country is no more visible than in Spain.

The country’s water supply is being slowly drained as around 61% of the country’s water usage is used for farming irrigation. This tied with record droughts and a record high amount of nitrogen pollution in the waters from nitrogen based fertilizers has led to the UN to stand up and take action.

Also taking into account the mass land degradation and deforestation that is occurring across the country, the Spanish government is looking into urgent plans to avoid UN intervention.

Schemes such as government crackdowns on illegal irrigation wells and a project to reintroduce wetland areas have been drafted in to try and alleviate the problem; however the country has nearly 15 years of catching up to do to bring it in line with its European neighbours.

 

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