The main symbol of the mass tourism in Barcelona, the viewpoint of the Carmel bunkers, continues without solving the problems that it drags down due to inconvenience to the neighbors. Three months after the end of the works on the bunker fence and the closure of the enclosure at night, the problems in the area are far from being resolved. Night parties are no longer held, but the Consell Veïnal del Turó de la Rovira, one of the neighborhood associations in the area, complains that “hundreds of visitors” accumulate around the perimeter of the fence after closing at 7:30 p.m. . When the Urban Police kick them out, “they continue to drink alcohol on the side that goes from Labèrnia street to the water tank, dispersing all over the mountainside until they almost reach the houses at the end of Mühlberg street.” This Monday they captured that scene an hour after closing and published it on social networks as they have done on other occasions.
From the Consell Veïnal they warn that the main crowds take place “before the Mühlberg bridge” and the viewpoint “at the end of the stairs that go up Calle Tenerife”. Fran Bernal, a resident of the area and a member of the association, attributes the situation to the widespread tourist mass in the city: “If tourists continue to arrive, they continue to reach all the icons of the city.” Bernal also questions the effectiveness of the fence and ensures that now visitors pass through private homes to get around it. “Before people didn’t jump home to go to the anti-aircraft battery, now they do.” In fact, they denounce that last week “a group of drunken tourists” tried again to access the home of the 76-year-old neighbor who was attacked and robbed two months ago. The inhabitants of these streets have had to install “padlocks” and “precarious bars” to prevent them from entering. The majority criticism among the residents is that “the Urban Guard does not appear” after the closure.
The infrastructure of the fence, at a cost of 1.6 million euros, is made up of two-meter-high steel fences and has seven entrances. The Consistory has built it before the large influx of visitors to avoid night parties and the degradation of archaeological remains that residents of streets such as Gran Vista or Maria Labernia have denounced in recent years. The Urban Police will continue to monitor the surroundings of the viewpoint and vehicle access on various streets until October, according to sources from the Horta-Guinardó district, which has implemented the usual device to control summer tourist influx since May.
Sources from the City Council already indicated to this newspaper that the priority of the agents is to evict in this space “so orographically characteristic”, even if they consume alcohol on public roads: “If they have to start denouncing all the people who are consuming alcohol, they can produce unwanted situations. Any police action is based on the basic principles of opportunity, consistency and proportionality.
The Consell also criticizes that the traffic pylons that prevent access to vehicles that do not reside on Panorama and Turo de la Rovira streets have been damaged “since the beginning of July”, which causes tourists to also enter by car.
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presence of asbestos
Added to this situation is the presence of a “large amount of asbestos” that has been uncovered after the completion of the fence works, according to a statement issued by the Consell. They assure that neither the City Council nor the company to which the project was awarded have picked it up and that the “mass tourism and the botellones” that continue to be held there “are dispersing it throughout the area.” This dispersion of visitors through the mountain causes the entire slope of the Mühlberg area to erode, causing “asbestos and stones to come down the mountain, to the houses.”
We report that the works on the Bateries fence have exposed a large amount of asbestos, and that the massification of tourists and bottlers are dispersing it throughout the area, with great risks for the health of visitors and residents. pic.twitter.com/yeof7yfTzi
— Turó de la Rovira Neighborhood Council (@ConsellVeinalTR) August 21, 2023
Sources from the Consistory indicate that investments have been made in the Turó de la Rovira with a value of 2,070,740.24 euros during the 2019-2023 term. Of this total, 12% (almost 256,000 euros) has been allocated to the removal of the fiber cement, “an operation that includes annual inspections for the location and, if necessary, the removal of the material”. 220 kilos of this waste were removed in November 2019, details the City Council, while the rest of the years they also removed fiber cement fragments “with possible asbestos content” at various points in Turó such as Can Baró or Font d’en Fargues. “In the coming weeks, the district technicians will study again what measures to take to act on the affected area,” say municipal sources.
The Department of Education of the Generalitat approved in 2022 a package of 11 million euros to remove roofing that contains asbestos in 39 schools and institutes. The works to eliminate this toxic product are very expensive because they require highly protective equipment and specialized companies that have special accreditation. In addition, the waste must be transferred to a specific landfill. Asbestos cement is harmful when it breaks and releases fibers that are inhaled, although experts warn that this also happens when it degrades, three or four decades after its placement. The substance can cause cancer of the pleura and severe respiratory disorders.
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