Expat claims ‘toxic’ leaf burning issue in Estepona is destroying her health

Expat claims ‘toxic’ leaf burning issue in Estepona is destroying her health

LAST UPDATED: 2 February, 2017 @ 1:23 pm

AN expat claims she may be forced from her home if neighbours don’t stop lighting ‘toxic’ leaf-burning fires.

Canadian Jessica Sanelli, of Estepona, claims she has been left with a lung condition due to thick smoke from fires started in surrounding gardens.

Prescribed with an inhaler and left short of breath, she wants to raise awareness of the issue to prevent others from being affected and encourage more environmentally-friendly practices.

She claims that hundreds of fires are lit each year around her area Las Joyas, as gardeners attempt to clear away dead leaves.

“It’s paralysing”, Jessica, 32, told the Olive Press. “The fires get lit at different times of the day, so we have no way of being able to prepare ourselves.

Smoke from a pile of burning leaves near to Jessica's home
Smoke from a pile of burning leaves near to Jessica’s home

“A lot of our neighbours have fruit trees and I think they must have used pesticides because the smoke has a toxic smell.

“It fills our home and we’ve had to literally flee the house quite a few times because we can’t breathe.”

Sanelli, from Montreal, who bought the villa with her husband a year ago, claims that the acrid smoke led her to develop a serious cough and doctors eventually prescribed an inhaler.

It is also bad for the ozone layer.

“I firstly developed lots of mucus because of the smoke and, after seeing a doctor, I now have to use an inhaler and mask at times.”

The estate agent added: “We love our home but are regrettably considering having to move.”

Sanelli has since contacted her local environmental officers (the Patrulla Verde) and advised other affected residents to do the same.

“They told me the practice is allowed but there are restrictions and people need special burning licences to do it so they will come investigate.

Jessica Sanelli
Jessica Sanelli

“They confirmed that the practice should not lead to smoke coming into my house. They added that they are breaking laws.

“I think it would be much better for the environment and people’s health if people shredded them and used them as compost like we do.”

If anyone wants to support Sanelli and help to encourage a better practice, they can email her justje@icloud.com. Also send your comments to newsdesk@theolivepress.es.