Gloria. I ara què?

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Only we loved it

That day I was awoken by a message from my cousin to the family group with a photo and a video showing rice fields on the left bank of the river flooded with sea water. It informed us that the area located below us could not be accessed. That the sea had come in. Ten kilometres from the river mouth.

That day we lost important beaches such as the seafronts of the tourist towns along the Maresme, and more natural areas, like ours. We also lost mussel farms, seafronts and fish and other animals that live in our Delta, and 3,000 hectares of rice fields were flooded. In central Catalonia, this represents: Ciutat Vella, l’Eixample, Les Corts, Gràcia and Nou Barris. Please, imagine this for a moment.

Obviously, this is not the first storm, nor will it be the last. Here in the Delta we are accustomed to storms, to high winds, to invading species which destroy the harvest, the rising river levels from time to time, which nobody takes any notice of when all they want to do is disconnect, bird watch and eat a decent rice dish. 

It is also true that once the storm passes, the water recedes, but with each storm, we will have lost a plain. And we all know that the fight against the climate emergency is practically lost, although we also know that something could be done to prevent the sediments from ending up blocked, with major financial investment and, of course, showing a little interest.

We are accustomed to being alone in this fight. We are so used to being the arse of Catalonia that we find it normal. Yet we would all feel the pain of losing our Delta. One day the natural disaster is shown on telly, and afterwards we are the ones who are progressively left without a landscape.

After Gloria, there were two more storms, with less media impact (on 2 March and 8 May), which once again blew away the little sand that had been deposited by a private company so they could continue accessing the Trinitat Salt Flats with lorries.

Later, Ecologistes en Acció (Ecologists in Action) awarded Trabucador in the Delta del Ebro a black flag for “poor management”, an award that aims to highlight the most damaged and degraded points along the coast. This is not only a shame because we all know that Trabucador is a singular, wild and beautiful area that we are rightly proud of, but also a sad reality.

I do not know how many readers of this humble text have had the misfortune to experience the physical loss of an area they love. Once again, now that summer is here and we are not occupied by other matters of little relevance right now: dearest neighbours, you can visit our region (which is yours too) whenever you like, to disconnect, bird watch or eat a decent rice dish, but you should know that you will no longer see a lovely part of our region, because it was loved only by us, and not enough by those who had the power to save it. Come whenever you like, but when you leave, explain this clearly: with each storm we lose a piece of the Delta, and that the plain we lost with storm Gloria is called Barra del Trabucador.

Maria Climent