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"Mar de Plástico" causes controversy among Spanish growers"

Last Tuesday, the new TV series premièred in Spain called "Mar de Plástico" ("Plastic Sea"), watched by about 5 million viewers and which has caused some controversy, especially in the agricultural sector.

Starring Rodolfo Sancho and Belén López, among others, "Mar de Plástico" deals with the investigation of a crime in the fictional town of Campoamargo, in the province of Almeria; a town full of greenhouses inhabited by people of different nationalities and ages.

The series was actually filmed in Campohermoso, a district of Vícar, in Almeria, in the heart of the greenhouse production industry, which is one of the main engines of the economy of the province. According to the sector, the series could mislead its audience into a wrong perception of reality, especially regarding the treatment of immigrant workers.

This was stated by Francisco Vargas in an opinion article. "If things are not taken out of context, the filming of a series in our environment should not be a cause for concern for us." However, he warned that the sector's image in "Mar de Plástico" could have "negative connotations."

"Although it is only fiction and therefore we should not worry," he warns that "the sensitivities of Almeria's citizens of all ethnicities could be affected by the series' subliminal messages, especially by those conveying a distorted and biased version of the reality of this wonderful place."

COAG sent a letter to Atresmedia (the broadcaster) prior to the première of the series, outlining the main concerns of the producers: "Since the announcement of the imminent première, several of our partners have approached us showing their concern and discomfort, and asking us to convey such feelings," read the letter from COAG President Andrés Góngora, announcing their intention to take legal action in case the image of producers and Almeria's agriculture was not respected.

After the première of the series, Andrés Góngora said that "Atresmedia has responded to our demands by including a warning at the start of the series with the goal of preventing discomfort or possible misunderstandings." The message said very clearly that "the events and characters in this series, as well as the town of Campoamargo, are entirely fictional."

"With these clarifications, we cannot put Atresmedia's main goal into doubt, which is merely to entertain," he expressed.

Besides the horticultural sector, many Andalusian viewers have complained about various inaccuracies in the representation of Almeria's society, including the accent of the characters.