La Línea as seen from the Rock of Gibraltar. :: A. B.
La Línea officially has the most polluted air in Spain, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report.
Although the report fails to explain why, it’s believed the neighbouring petrochemical plant between San Roque and La Línea is to blame.
In comparison the border town’s pollution level is more than double that of Marbella and ahead of the Andalusian cities of Malaga (in third place) and Seville (in eighth).
The damning report examined 1,600 cities in 91 countries and claimed most fail to meet WHO safety levels.
WHO spokesman Dr Flavia Bustreo, said: “Too many urban centres today are so enveloped in dirty air that their skylines are invisible.
“Not surprisingly, this air is dangerous to breathe. So a growing number of cities and communities worldwide are striving to better meet the needs of their residents - in particular children and the elderly.”
La Línea has an annual mean 18 micrograms of PM 2.5 (small dangerous particles) per cubic metre, higher than any other Spanish town or city.
Local ecological group Verdemar is concerned about the report and is calling for local industrial plants to cut emissions.
The report added that only 12 per cent of people living in cities that monitor air quality have air that is within WHO air quality guideline levels.
However, around half of the urban population being monitored is exposed to air pollution that is at least 2.5 times higher than the levels WHO recommends - putting those people at additional risk of serious, long-term health problems.
Las Palmas in Gran Canarias has the freshest air, while Marbella came in at a respectable third for best air quality.