Europe-bound migrants found among recycling glass, toxic ash

MADRID (AP) – Spanish authorities said they have found and rescued 41 migrants in the past four days who tried to reach continental Europe from North Africa, some of them hiding inside a container of discarded glass bottles and a bag of toxic ash.

Among the 35 people found only on Friday trying to travel to Europe from the Spanish port of Melilla, an enclave in North Africa, four hid among bottles and other glass partially broken in pieces and with sharp edges that were destined for recycling, the Spanish Civil Guard said yesterday.

A video released by the police also showed another incident in which an officer first found motionless leg sticking out of a large plastic bag containing ash from the city’s incinerator, a material that is considered highly toxic. When the agent started removing the ash, the alleged stowaway seemed to recover consciousness.

The port of Melilla, where trucks and containers embark on a trip to Spain that can take up to seven hours, is together with the nearby Ceuta enclave a target for many migrants trying to reach the European mainland.

Some of them try to enter the fenced area of the harbour by swimming there or by hiding in vehicles, in some cases jumping on to them when they slow down or stop at the
gates of the port.

The Civil Guard said that it found 11,700 people last year inside the Melilla port’s security perimeter and that in 2021 so far, the figure has reached 1,781 migrants.