Big History





Ana Mª Pujante Mora

Basuraleza is a name that has emerged from the union of the terms litter and nature. It was coined in 2018 by the LIBERA project, united against basuraleza, created by the NGO SEO/BirdLife, in alliance with Ecoembes, the non-profit environmental organization that promotes the circular economy through packaging recycling.

Some examples of the consequences of the presence of basuraleza in ecosystems are:

  • It produces serious effects on aquatic ecosystems (rivers, lakes, wetlands, oceans), especially plastics and microplastics.
  • It can cause forest fires due to cigarette butts, glass containers, flammable plastics, etc.
  • Contributes to the loss of biological diversity.
  • Promotes the appearance of invasive exotic species.
Litter accumulated in a channel of the Marjal del Moro Natural Park (Sagunto)

There are several kinds of basuraleza:

  • The visible is what we perceive with a quick glance, the everyday waste that we should deposit in a suitable recycling container.
  • The invisible, result of the degradation of larger garbage, such as microplastics.
  • The old one, which is produced by traces of products that were prohibited in the past for being polluting and that persist in ecosystems.
Plastics, cans, paper,…
Remains of two refrigerators in the woods near Losilla

The LIBERA project has been investigating the phenomenon of garbage in nature for 6 years and organizing collective and open raids to try to combat it. Whith the #MiPuebloSinBasuraleza more than 600 municipalities in Spain participate in the collection of waste in their natural spaces to recover it.

Some of the municipalities participating in the LIBERA project

The LIBERA project has carried out more than 3,821 actions with 68,971 volunteers who have removed more than 490.2 tons of garbage from nature. Cigarette butts, drink cans, plastics, glass and lids and plugs constitute the most common waste in nature.

LIBERA Project: basuraleza barometer

The LIBERA project has requested that basuraleza be included in the dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language. The term has been created to define a serious environmental problem: basuraleza is “a new word to name an old problem.”