In a groundbreaking decision, Spain has given personhood status to a heavily polluted lagoon to help clean and protect it. The decision means that the saltwater lagoon called the Mar Menor is the first ecosystem in Europe to receive the status and all of the legal rights that go with it.

Source: DW Documentary/YouTube

The Mar Menor lagoon has been a large concern for environmentalists and ecologists in recent years. The lagoon receives heavily polluted runoff of fertilizer that is used in farmland nearby. The runoff has caused an unbalance in the nutrients in the ecosystem. This unbalance can take away oxygen from the water, causing fish to die off and therefore affecting the entire ecosystem.

Members of the Spanish parliament decided to give the Mar Menor lagoon in Murcia the status after over half a million signatures were collected backing the decision to protect the threatened ecosystem.

Source: Viral Tab Presents/YouTube

Now, the status will allow the rights of the lagoon to be defended in court just as if it were a person or business. This also means that any citizen can appeal in the case of a suspected violation against the lagoon. The lagoon will be represented by a group of caretakers, including officials, scientists, and even residents.

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