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Formentera presents plan to improve waste collection

biotrituradora restes podaYesterday's meeting of Formentera's guild of associations, convened to discuss issues related to the environment, included the unveiling of a draft plan for local waste management. Representatives from 11 island groups were there to pick up their copies of the document, which they will review and possibly amend in the coming days.

According to CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, the aim of the document, which was prepared by green consultants Geprecon, is both to “define the model Formentera uses for waste management” and “align it with European and national standards like cutting down on landfill use for biodegradable items and stepping up recycling”. The ultimate goal, in the words of the councillor, is to increase Formentera's sustainability.

The document calls for two treatment plants—one for “building and demolition materials, where construction firms and the Council will be allowed to reuse materials” and another “for organic compost,” envisioned as a fertiliser source for Formentera fields.

Under the plan, organic compost would first be collected directly from big producers like restaurants and hotels. By the second year, a dedicated treatment plant—and street-side collection bins—would allow for an expanded service, available to the general public.

Improvements and savings
Current figures put Formentera's recycling at three times the national average, though measures included in the document would take those trends even further. One suggestion at yesterday's gathering, said Aguilera, was to extend the push to do away with plastic bags: “Formentera was among the first to take aim at plastic bags at checkout areas. Now we're ready to do more.”

Councillor Aguilera expressed her hopes that the plan, which could be adopted before year-end, has the support of the people of Formentera. “At the end of the day,” she explained, “they've got the final say when it comes to improving our rubbish disposal practices”.

Reshuffling shade spots in Ses Salines park

Foto reposicio umbraclesThe Formentera Council is moving shaded areas in the car park adjacent to Pirata beach bar, located on the island's eastern coast. For the last month, crews have been preparing the site to reinstall pergolas, or shade-providing structures, across the lot. The work, which the Council says should be complete before next month, consisted in removing the previous structures, levelling the earth and installing the new pergolas.

The undertaking cost the Council €50,000. As Office of Environment head Daisee Aguilera pointed out, the lower-than-standard figure reflected a reduction applied by the coastal authority to the administration's lease of the land. Until 2016 the Council paid an annual sum of €45,000 to occupy the land where the parking area sits. In 2016, they paid €4,200. According to Aguilera, the discount stemmed from the Council's pledge to invest €50,000 into moving the pergolas.

Though that amount won't cover the cost of repositioning all of the shade spots in Ses Salines, Aguilera described the effort as ongoing and said she hoped a similar agreement could be reached this year as well.

Clean-up at Sa Sequi

Foto retirada posidoniaThe Formentera Council's Office of Environment has reported on a recent clean-up of Sa Sequi, the irrigation canal that links estany Pudent with Formentera's surrounding sea. Absent the posidonia seagrass that had washed into the canal and obstructed it after recent storms, Daisee Aguilera, the administration's councillor of environment, said the back and forth flow of water would resume and the local ecosystem regain its previous conditions.

A total of eight cubic metres of washed-up seaweed clogged the passage. To clear it, the Council hired a crane and excavator for a procedure that took ten hours and cost €1,657, VAT included. Three employees, brought in by Salines de Formentera, were tasked with removing the buildup by hand. The crew took advantage of the opportunity to remove an invasive plant from the canal as well; that material comprised some four cubic metres. The Formentera Council had to receive approval from two agencies—the coastal authority and the Balearic directorate general of natural spaces and biodiversity—before it could carry the clean-up forward.

In Berlin, Formentera seeks to advance sustainable tourism

Foto presentacio formentera itb berlinThe Formentera Council's Office of Tourism has announced it will attend, today through Sunday, March 12, Berlin's ITB travel trade show. Tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer pledged that visitors to the Balearic Islands' stand would be able to hear all about Formentera's dazzling qualities. Ferrer, who traveled to the German city for the event, highlighted the launch at ITB of one initiative in particular, Save Posidonia Project. The councillor will be joined by a public relations specialist from her department as the two of them spread the Formentera gospel to ITB crowds.

Today at the show, members of the media saw the Balearics extolled as a winter destination spot. The councillor described Better in Winter as “a bid to showcase everything Formentera offers those who opt to skip the high season: sports and cultural programming and nature trails, for starters”.

Save Posidonia Project
Ferrer took the opportunity to talk about some of the details of the Save Posidonia Project, like how for €1 per cubic metre, companies and private citizens can sponsor any portion of the 7,650 hectares of posidonia seagrass around Formentera. Money raised will fund projects to conserve the plant, “a particularly important part of our commitment to sustainable tourism,” according to Ferrer.

Formentera recycled 14.6 % more plastic containers in 2016

Reciclatge contenidors premsaAccording to the administration's Office of Environment, Formentera notched a 7.27% year-on-year spike in paper/cardboard, glass and plastic container recycling, moving from 2,106.62 tonnes in 2015 to 2,259.82 in 2016. That year the island generated 9,904.90 tonnes of rubbish and recyclable material — 6.31% higher than in 2015, when the figure was 9,316.44 tonnes.

By material, Formentera residents recycled 14.6% more so-called “light plastics” (383.08 tonnes in 2015 compared to 439.10 tonnes in 2016). The next most significant year-on-year rise was in glass recycling, which jumped 9.94% from 854.52 tonnes to 939.54 tonnes. A modest uptick was registered in paper and cardboard recycling – from 2015 to 2016 the figure climbed from 869.02 tonnes to 881.18 tonnes, a 1.3% increase.

Cash savings
Recognising their efforts to “make waste management on Formentera more sustainable”, environment councillor Daisee Aguilera thanked the people of the island in general and the big producers (cafés, restaurants, hotels and apartments, shops, etc) in particular. The councillor underscored the potential economic benefits recycling could have for the island, noting “in 2016, the island netted €179,206.74 by selling recycled paper/cardboard, plastics and glass”.

Aguilera said the money was used to increase collection frequency and bankroll bin maintenance and educational outreach among businesses (big waste producers) and school children.

In the councillor's words, “if these materials had been sent to the Ca Na Putxa rubbish tip instead of being recycled, we would have paid €137 per tonne plus an additional €30 per tonne tax”. Given freight costs are covered by the recycling companies themselves (Ecoembes collects paper/cardboard and plastics and Ecovidrio recycles glass), Aguilera held up waste transfer savings of €377,389.94 in 2016.

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