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Macro-Landfill in Torremendo, Alicante, Spain


The Torremendo struggle is known as a historical struggle against the construction of a Macro-landfill in a district of the city of Orihuela, in the south of Alicante, Spain. For 11 years, neighbours and environmental groups fought against corruption in the Town Council in order to avoid the construction of a landfill which was approved without any environmental or urbanistic permit.

The Town Council approved the construction of the Torremendo landfill on October, the 20th 1994. The provincial government (Diputación de Alicante), the Town Council Mayor and the company owner were pollitically alligned (they were related to the PP party (conservatives) and the landfill company owner funded the political campaign of the Torremendo PP Mayor). As it would be proved years later, their main objective with the project was to get public money through waste management. In fact, the last two Mayors of the town have been condemned for corruption and there is a Court case ongoing against the owner of the landfill company (all these corruption cases are known as El Caso Brugal).

Opposition to the landfill project started in 1994. Neighbours and environmental groups became allies and launched a public campaign against the landfill project, denouncing that the project had been granted in the first place without even the existence of a technical project. They also pointed out at the negative environmental and health impacts and risks as well as the corruption and the lack of transparency and public participation of the project. They organised massive demonstrations and even occupied the area, taking 24 hours shifts in situ during years to avoid the operation of the landfill. They successfully put their bodies in the middle to avoid the project to actually start construction. They also brought this case to the Valencian Court of Justice and to the European Parliament.

In fact, it was due to the ressolution of a Court Case that the project was finally declared illegal in 2006.

The company unsuccessfully tried to appeal the Court resolution and relaunch the project over the following years. In June 2013, the Proambiente company got permission to locate the macro-landfill (designed for 20 years of operation) in Al­ba­tera, another municipality of Alicante. This has also launched the beginning of a new social contestation against that project.

In 2011, Monserrate Guillén, a former music teacher from Torremendo and a very active member against the landfill project, became the new Mayor of Orihuela town, supported by the Green party. That was significant because he was the second green mayor of a town in the history of Spain.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Macro-Landfill in Torremendo, Alicante, Spain
State or province:Alicante
Location of conflict:Torremendo
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:87,110
Company names or state enterprises:Proambiente from Spain
Relevant government actors:Valencian Regional government, Torremento Town Council, Diputación de Alicante
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Asociación de Vecinos Virgen de Monserrate, Zeneta contra el vertedero, Ecologistas en Acción

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:Not to build the landfill.
Change the location.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The landfill project was cancelled by the Supreme Court of Justice of Valencia. The mayor of the town was sent to jail.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

DIRECTIVA 99/31/CEE del Consejo, de 26 de abril relativa al vertido de residuos (DOCE L 182 de 16/07/1999):

vertederos, y otras actuaciones complementarias:

Real Decreto 1304/2009, de 31 de julio, por el que se modifica el Real Decreto 1481/2001, de 27 de diciembre, por el que se regula la eliminación de residuos mediante el depósito en vertedero. (BOE 01-08-2009):

REAL DECRETO 1481/2001, de 27 de diciembre, por el que se regula la eliminación de residuos mediante depósito en vertedero:

DECISIÓN 2003/33/CE del Consejo, de 19 de diciembre de 2002, por la que se establecen los criterios y procedimientos de admisión de residuos en los vertederos con arreglo al artículo 16 y al anexo II de la Directiva 1999/31/CEE (L 152, de 20/06/2003).

DECISIÓN 2000/738/CE de la Comisión, de 17 de noviembre de 2000, sobre el cuestionario para los Estados miembros acerca de la aplicación de la Directiva 1999/31/CE relativa al vertido de residuos (DOCE 298, de .2/11/2000)

Real Decreto 1823/2009, de 27 de noviembre, por el que se regula la concesión

directa de una subvención a las comunidades autónomas para la ejecución

urgente de actuaciones para el cumplimiento de la legislación de vertederos,

incluyendo la clausura de vertederos ilegales y la captación de biogás en

Ley 22/2011, de 28 de julio, de residuos y suelos contaminados. (BOE 29-07-2011): , modificada por el Real Decreto-ley 17/2012 , de 4 de mayo, de medidas urgentes en materia de medio ambiente - Artículo 3º (BOE 05-05-2012)

Real Decreto 1974/2008, de 28 de noviembre, por el que se regula la concesión directa de una subvención a las comunidades autónomas para la ejecución urgente de actuaciones de clausura de vertederos ilegales. (BOE 29-11-2008):

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Newspaper article. Riquelme, P. (10/01/2006) Júbilo en Torremendo por sentencia del TSJ-CV que estiman a su favor en su lucha de 11 años contra un vertedero. OrihuelaDigital:

Newspaper article. Girona, P. (7/8/2006) La Asociación de Vecinos de Torremendo se querella contra alcalde y ediles del PP que en 2001 dieron licencia al vertedero. OrihuelaDIgital:

Newspaper article. (11/12/2008) Torremendo lleva a Europa las irregularidades del vertedero. TeleOrihuela:

Newspaper article. Girona, P. (7/8/2000) Vecinos de Orihuela protestan por un vertedero cercano a las casas. El Pais:

Newspaper article. Martínez-López, G. (17/06/2013) Olor a corrupción en los vertederos de la Vega Baja. Diagonal:

Nespaper article. Mas, M. (5/09/2010) Declaran ilegal el vertedero que dio lugar al caso Brugal. Levante:

Newspaper article. Moltó, D. (6/7/2010) El Caso Brugal, una trama de corrupción salpicada de basura. El mundo:

Meta information

Contributor:Amaranta Herrero
Last update24/06/2014