An investigation by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) and the Stay Grounded Network has registered more than 300 socio-environmental conflicts related to the expansion or creation of new airports around the world.
The study, coordinated by Rose Bridger (Stay Grounded) and the ambientologist Sara Mingorría (ICTA-UAB), was presented at the "Aviation Degrowth" conference, which takes place this weekend in Barcelona and whose attendees, from from several European countries, they have traveled by train and bus to avoid the plane.
Mingorría explained to Efe that it is necessary that there be "a decrease in global aviation, not only because it is the most polluting means of transport, but because it is generating many social conflicts".
On the innovations to make electric or solar airplanes, the environmentalist considers that "they are not an alternative, they are what is called a 'mirage of flying green', because, although they are presented as ecological, they have a rebound effect as the industry grows aeronautics and the overall result is more impact ".
"Changing the entire fleet of aircraft means consuming more materials, and using biofuels, such as oil palm, does not mean less impact because it is a monoculture with a brutal impact," said Mingorría, who argues that there is no solution other than "moratoria and limits to the growth of aviation. "
On the 300 conflicts related to aviation that the EnvJustice project has quantified (http://www.envjustice.org), Mongorría has analyzed 60, some of them initiated in the 70s, such as the Guadalajara airport (Mexico), "But most of them start in 2010, when the expansion and the creation of new airports around the world become more acute".
The study finds that more than 50% of cases are located in Asia and almost 20% in Europe.
Most of the causes of these conflicts are by extension of infrastructure for aviation, "justified" through development speeches, such as building airports after a natural disaster, for example in the Barbuda Islands; for tourism growth, as in Costa Rica; or for security, like the new military airports in Pakyong (India).
The study highlights the creation of 'aerotrópolis', which are airports surrounded by commercial and industrial centers that depend on aviation.
Mingorría highlights conflicts related to evictions and land dispossession (Yogkyakarta, Indonesia), destruction of ecosystems such as mangroves, wetlands or forests (Atenco, Mexico), or sacred areas and high cultural value (Kerala, India), and pollution damage acoustics (Vienna, Austria).
According to the environmental scientist, "one of the most serious cases of deforestation in Sri Lanka occurred in the area where the Mattala airport was later built", while another project that threatens to deforest to build an airport is Mopa (India) .
"Not only are there conflicts over the construction of the airport, but also through the extraction and transportation of the necessary materials, large amounts of land, canals and tanks to store the kerosene, as in Vanouver (Canada)," according to the environmentalist.
The work shows the cases in Papua New Guinea and the Pakyong airport (Nepal), which are conflicts over the extraction of sand and gravel from local rivers to build airports.
"The mangroves in Manila Bay have already disappeared to build the Bulacan aerotropolis (Philippines) and coral reefs and the seabed could be at risk for a second proposed airport on the island of Tioman (Malaysia)," he adds.
The ICTA ambientologist also points out that "once the airports are operational, the neighbors suffer diseases related to the high exposure of constant noise".
Also in Barcelona there is a conflict, which has not yet been included in this database, which is what affects the residents of Castelldefels, El Prat and Gavà, who have been protesting for more than 13 years about the noise generated by airplanes and that now oppose the expansion of the Josep Tarradellas-El Prat airport so that it can accommodate 90 million passengers a year as Catalan businessmen advocate.
"We know that the capacity of El Prat can not support this influx of passengers and therefore propose to expand or use the Girona to divert passengers, but that is only to move the problem.Tourism is not a right, health and a decent life Yes, "concluded Mingorría.
. (tagsToTranslate) Record (t) conflicts (t) socio-environmental (t) related (t) airports