This is Lorca. Almost 100.000 people live here. We’ve been there once before during the feria at the end of September. The old city is nice to walk through with small streets and high Renaissance buildings.
But that’s not what this picture is about. It’s about the haze that is to be seen just under the mountains at the horizon. In the picture the haze is white, but most of the time it’s brown. This doesn’t look good and originates from several sources:
- These last couple of weeks there has hardly been any wind. The sun is shining during the day time and the temperatures were rather high for the time of year. This kind of weather is called Veroño. This is nice for us, but it also produces a drought that causes unused farmlands to turn into dust. Since people who live in Spain like to drive like ‘devils’, particularly on dustroads, the dust is all around.
- On top of the Veroño there is inversión. This means that there is a higher layer of air that is warmer and which prevents the relatively lower, and polluted colder air from getting up.
- The next cause is the highway A7 which follows the length of the valley in which Lorca, Totana and Murcia are situated. The A7 is the artery which connects the agricultural areas around Almeria with the east coast cities such as Alicante, Valencia and Barcelona, and of course with the rest of Europe. So it’s a busy road.
- Seventy percent of the family cars in Spain are diesels.
- The valley between Lorca and Murcia is a mix of an industrial and agricultural area. The factories fume 24/7 and the farmers are allowed to burn their harvest residues from October onward.
- Spaniards smoke a lot of cigarettes, eat much meat, have many pets, like cats and dogs, and breed chickens, pigs, goats, donkeys, horses and cattle that also contaminate the air with dust and methane gasses.
Although we hope the wind will soon settle in again, a change of winds will also announce a change in the weather. If this will be for the better, is an open question.