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In Madrid about six million people wake up every morning, European city with highest number of premature deaths linked to nitrogen dioxide. They get ready for work, jump in their cars or buses and inevitably add to the carbon footprint of the city. Pollution is becoming a problem in the capital.
a protective national park
However, on a clear day in Madrid, you might be able to see the rocky giant that has long protected the city from one of its greatest enemies: human activity. this giant is called Sierra of Guadarrama, a mountain range that extends from the province of vila in the southwest, through the community of Madrid, to the province of Segovia in the northeast. The Sierra of Guadarrama was granted protected and national park status in 2013. It is one of Madrid’s main weapons against pollution.
National parks, such as Guadarrama, are part of the European Action Plan to achieve zero water, air and soil pollution. they also play an important role EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy.
Pablo Sanjuanbenito is the co-director of the Sierra of Guadarrama National Park. He gives us some information about the heritage of national parks. “Since their inception, the first park in the United States in the 19th century was the first park in the United States not only for conservation purposes but to raise awareness about the conservation of nature, but also to raise awareness of other environmental values such as pollution, waste was also built. Settlement and more”, he explains.
a green corridor
Some of the best preserved forests are in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula. With 340 square kilometers of protected land, Guadarrama National Park is a giant air-purifying filter for the Spanish capital.
Pablo describes it as “a green corridor that connects or brings air from the mountains to Madrid”. According to him, it is a real carbon sink.
At altitudes above 2000 m, the Sierra of Guadarrama also receives frequent snowfall, even during the spring. However, it has not helped to avoid climate change. In the last decades, the temperature there has increased between one and two degrees.
Despite being vulnerable to the environmental damages of climate change, Guadarrama National Park still has purifying properties. Rain and melting snow filter through its forests to give Madrid one of the best quality water in Europe. It is also a place for the local population to get away from the city and find some Zen. However, it has also contributed to one of the park’s new challenges: how to combine conservation with leisure space.
Madrid, like all cities around the world, is fighting against pollution. Although unlike the others, this capital has nature. The mountains of Guadarrama will continue to protect the city as long as we protect them.
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