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Asbestos removal drive in full swing

foto recollida uralitaThis week Formentera's Office of Environment will continue a push to encourage islanders to remove uralite (or more commonly, asbestos) from their homes.

The first days of the effort saw crews focussed on removing the offending material and asphalt cloth in nine areas near rubbish containers. Home visits kicked off this Thursday.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera was enthusiastic about the interest Formenterencs have demonstrated in ridding their homes of the hazardous material. She noted this year about forty households have requested the service, which involves employees from an authorised firm overseeing controlled pick-up and treatment.

The Council helps out households by partially reimbursing costs of removal and transport of the asbestos to the Spanish mainland, not to mention by providing the special sacks used in the process. Participating renters and homeowners are charged a fee based on the sort and amount of material removed, with the final sum reflecting the Council's collaboration.

The asbestos-removal initiative was agreed on at the Formentera Council's August plenary assembly.

Crews begin push to remove uralite

Recollida fibrociment uralitaThis week Formentera's Office of Environment will continue rolling out a campaign to remove uralite from island homes. Uralite is a generic term for a substance that is often more commonly referred to in the English-speaking world as asbestos.

The first days of the effort saw crews focussed on removing the offending material and asphalt cloth surrounding nine rubbish containers. Thursday they began visiting homes.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera was enthusiastic about islanders' interest in ridding their homes of the hazardous material, reporting this year about forty households have requested the service, which involves employees from an authorised firm overseeing controlled pick-up and treatment”.

The Council helps out households by partially reimbursing costs of removal and transport of the asbestos to the Spanish mainland, not to mention by providing the special sacks used in the process. Participating renters and homeowners are charged a fee based on the sort and amount of material removed, with the Council’s contribution deducted from the final amount billed.

The asbestos-removal initiative was agreed on in the Formentera Council's August plenary assembly.

Save Posidonia Project submission deadline: February 22

posidona m felixThe Formentera Council Offices of Tourism and Environment wish to report that February 22 is the final day to request funding under the Save Posidonia Project. Projects proposed must be related to conservation of posidonia seagrass.

Applicants may represent companies or individuals, and the initiatives they propose must be based on posidonia protection.

Applications should be submitted digitally at the Citizen's Information Office, whether in person at the office's brick-and-mortar location (OAC) or online at the OVAC. After the deadline, proposals will be evaluated by a technical panel of experts from the international, national and local spheres with the help of well-known NGOs. Submissions will be appraised within 20 days and winners will be announced on the Council's bulletin board.

Conditions of application can be found on the website of the Balearic Islands' official gazette (BOIB): goo.gl/STKvQk.

During three-week push, 5,785 caterpillar nests removed

Processionaria redux1The environment office of the Formentera Council reports that 5,785 nests of the pine processionary caterpillar have been collected and destroyed in the three weeks since a correlated campaign was launched. This most recent push began January 8 and has seen the administration partner with Ibanat and state environmental agents.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera called the figures “a reduction compared to 2015 and 2016, when crews found 12,000 and 6,627 nests, respectively”.

Ibanat agents have already removed an additional 791 nests. Both land- and air-based strategies, which involve dusting some 1,500 hectares in es Cap de Barbaria with Bacillus thuringiensis, have had positive results.

Visual inspections
As in the two previous campaigns, officials have once again teamed up with the healthy forests division of the Balearic Islands' ministry of environment. That department, using a strategy known as “visual identification”, locates nests in affected pine trees and communicates the findings to the Council and Ibanat, who in turn oversee the nests' destruction.

Detection and elimination form the basis of the regional environment ministry's yearly plan for comprehensive control of the pine processionary caterpillar on Formentera. Other features of the plan include traps to monitor and capture pine processionary butterflies; a four-year dusting strategy (2017-2020); installation and maintenance of structures to house bats, predators of the pine processionary butterflies; and a study of the pest's associated parasites.

Formentera's water works adds two new electric vehicles to fleet

nous vehicles electrics consell i aqualia servei daiguaRepresentatives of the Formentera Council and Aqualia gathered today to unveil the newest additions to the local water works' fleet of service vehicles: two new electric vans. The two vehicles, both Citroën E-Berlingos, will be added to Aqualia's reserve of dedicated vehicles.

Besides a battery life that promises 125 kilometres of driving per charge, the new vehicles are totally electric, thus cutting fossil fuel consumption and reducing C02 emissions into the atmosphere. Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera explained the vans would save 2,800 litres of fuel per year, the equivalent of 3.55 tonnes of C02 emissions. She cast the change as the Council “coming through on its commitment to sustainable mobility”. “This is part of our push to protect the environment, slow climate change and ultimately replace our store of conventional vehicles with ones that are more energy efficient”, she said.

Aguilera pointed out the vehicles run silently and thus contribute to reducing noise pollution, which, offered the secretary, “is especially important on an island like Formentera with protected natural spaces. It's a change that will make the island a nicer place to be — for islanders and visitors alike”.

In the words of Eduardo del Castillo, the head of Aqualia's Balearic office, “here at Aqualia we are deeply aware of the importance of protecting the environment”. The proof, he held, is that Aqualia was the first in its field to calculate its carbon footprint globally and for every action the company takes. “Our idea is to progressively switch out old vehicles on our fleet with non-polluting ones” — just so long, he said, “as they meet basic battery life and capacity levels for the work of the municipal water service”.

In addition, del Castillo explained that Aqualia had equipped its facilities with two recharge stations. Sixteen such spots, installed by the Council and with capacity for 32 vehicles at once, can already be found around the island.

The addition of the new electric vans brings the Formentera Council and Aqualia one step closer to sustainability and making Formentera a place with a minimal environmental footprint and maximum energy efficiency.

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Formentera neta, naturalmet gràcies a valtros

Xarxa Natura de les Illes Balears

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Balears Life Posidonia

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