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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Environment

Formentera stages Posidònia Fòrum

foto compilant dadesThe tourism and environment bureaus of the Formentera Council are putting together Posidònia Fòrum this Friday, a day of dialogue between business, island residents and the administration as the Council works towards sustainability in terms of one of the island's most critical pieces of patrimony: posidonia seagrass.

Posidònia Fòrum
The working day will focus on the milestones as we take steps towards conserving posidonia, a key species in the ecosystem of the Balearic Islands. The day is also about developing a sustainable brand of tourism that supports proper use of natural and cultural resources, economic stability and quality of life improvements for the local community.

The day kicks off at 9.30am in the Council's Sala de Plens. There are two parts—first, tourism and second, Save Posidonia Project-related initiatives. Tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer will get things going with an opening address. Journalist Carmelo Convalia will follow Ferrer with his talk on changes in Formentera tourism in the last decade. Next up, the island's head of tourism, Carlos Bernús, will give a presentation on promoting tourism and occupancy figures in 2017. CEGOS, a consulting and training firm, will enlist company representatives to share their analysis of the “Tourism Barometre”.

After a break, environment secretary Daisee Aguilera will usher in the second part of the day with a report on the take-aways and growth of SPP in 2017 and 2018. Then participants will get a look at some SPP projects, like IMEDEA's Antroposí, GEN-GOB's study of the seagrass and sustainable solutions for underwater use of the organism, and marine biologist Manu San Félix's presentation of Posidònia Maps. A round table about the delicate balance to be struck between tourism and the environment will be followed by a discussion including suggestions from the sector and from islanders themselves. Secretary Ferrer will oversee the conclusions and closing portions of the event.

Save Posidonia Project
Since its inception in 2017, International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, SPP has been a pioneer project in the western Mediterranean. SPP reflects the Formentera Council's goal of promoting sustainable tourism and launching an action plan to raise funding for Posidonia oceanica conservation. The goal is to bring public awareness to the seagrass's importance for the island today and, particularly, for future generations.

It's 2018 and the project is still going, making active participation in the cause possible by encouraging people to adopt square metres of seagrass meadows located around the island.

Many have elected to sponsor posidonia meadows over the last two years, helping as they do further awareness around the importance of the underwater plant for our future.

Following weekend of stormy weather, crews clear wreckage and repair watercraft

Foto neteja restesThe Formentera Council's environment office says administration crews will take the lead in removing wreckage left after rough seas hit the island last weekend.

The environment office is working to comb Formentera's waters and shores for destroyed ships before they are washed out to sea. The crews' operating costs will be billed to shipowners.

Wreckage of four ships is being recovered. Luna, a motorboat that ran aground Friday night on Punta Prima; Cormorán, a motor launch; and an as-yet unidentified sailboat were all three found near Sa Sequi. Another sailboat, Revull, was found at Ses Illetes.

According to information available to the Council, the firms contracted by the shipowners are planning to perform repairs and remove wreckage tomorrow on the surrounding sea floor in Punta Pedrera, S'Estany des Peix, Cavall d'en Borràs and Illetes.

Fresh round of spraying in Formentera's assault on pine processionary

foto helicopter fumigacioThe environment department of the Formentera Council announces that from Tuesday October 9, weather permitting, a new phase of operations will be introduced by the healthy forests service as part of an eco-friendly effort by the Council and Govern balear to stem the spread of the pine processionary in the Es Cap de Barbaria area of the island.

Aerial dusting is performed with a helicopter that is equipped with on-board DGPS technology which gives an operator precise control over which areas are treated and how much pesticide is administered. The insecticide, a “phytosanitary” product, is a natural, kurstaki variety of Bacillus thuringiensis found naturally on the ground and plants, and typically breaks down with exposure to UV rays in a number of days. It also does not affect bees and is fit for use in organic farming.

For optimal results, it is recommended that Bacillus thuringiensis be applied annually for a period of four years.

Dusting generally takes place between October 1 and November 15, although scheduling depends on the pest's stage of development as well as weather conditions. Two applications are staggered several days apart to assure the naturally degrading pesticide eliminates larvae born after the first run.

Area to be treated
Engineers of the effort plan to treat 1,600 hectares of “pure” and “mixed” pines affected by the pine processionary. The area of treatment was chosen based on two factors: captures recorded in traps installed as part of a 2014 effort and nests found over past winters.

Other steps
A whole series of actions in addition to the aerial spraying include traps to capture the insect in its moth form, a push to destroy nests in winter, structures to house predators of the pest, such as bats, and an outreach effort to educate people about the problem.

Formentera pupils get smart about plastics problem

foto-plastic-zero-1The Formentera Council's departments of environment and education have teamed up on Plàstic 0, an initiative launched by Observadores del Mar, a “science platform for the people” overseen by the ecological group Gen-Gob in Eivissa and Formentera.

Problematic plastic
Plastics have become one of the most widespread human-made materials today. It is relatively cheap to produce and extremely resistant, which explains its abundance in oceans and seas and across the coastlines of the world. Plastics make up 97% of the materials found in these places, and that's touching off a gathering environmental crisis in practically all underwater ecosystems.

Plastics break down into smaller and smaller particles known as “microplastics” (a distinction reserved for particles no greater than 5 mm large) and typically enter the lower rungs of the food chain when certain marine organisms mistake them for food.

Plàstic 0
Plàstic 0 is about getting the engagement and commitment of a wide base of people, from early childhood, to deliver real answers and solutions to complex issues like the microplastics littering our shoreline.

Since 2017 Gen-Gob, together with a number of schools, has been responsible for collecting samples at Eivissa beaches. This year Formentera's three primary schools have joined in too, adopting local beaches Cavall d'en Borràs, Migjorn and Es Pujols.

In the words of environment secretary Daisee Aguilera, “it's crucial that we reach our children about the importance of caring for the environment. The data we'll obtain are vital because it will be part of a nationwide effort. Our children, meanwhile, will be acting as scientists in training and learning the significance of taking care of our surrounding ecosystems”.

Cavall d'en Borràs beach, chosen by the pupils of Mestre Lluís Andreu school, will see action this Friday. Operations will be overseen by Agnès Vidal, head of Gen-Gob Eivissa's environmental outreach division, who explained: “The children will be in charge of this beach during the entire term. A new group will come each month and collect samples to be analysed for microplastics”.

The samples will be placed into categories and shipped to Blanes, where final results will be compiled and a plan of action to tackle the problem will be developed.

Formentera proves recycling pays

foto projecte envasosAt midday today, the former plenary hall of the Formentera Council played host to the launch of an initiative, Be Blue, that encourages islanders to toss their used cans and plastic bottles into any one of five stations on the island in exchange for points towards prizes.

The presentation was overseen by the Council's environment secretary and a spokesperson for the Be Blue project, Daisee Aguilera and Maria Vecino, as well as a number of the project's design, production and assembly specialists.

In Aguilera's words, Be Blue is about “showing islanders that litter is worth something”. “Keeping materials like paper, glass and plastics out of the bin means reducing the amount of material in the landfill”, said the secretary, “which in turn means slashing the bill footed later by the whole island”.

Maria Vecino described the impetus behind the initiative as twofold: incentivising recycling among Formentera's visitors and residents, and “getting commitment from Be Blue's participating businesses that they will match total points with a donation to Save Posidonia Project”.

Recycling stations

Islanders can recycle for points at the following locations:

• Carrer Sant Jaume, 28, on the school-side pavement (Sant Ferran).
• La Mola highway at km 6.2, opposite Ophiusa supermarket (Sant Ferran).
• Avinguda Vuit d’Agost, 90, opposite IES Marc Ferrer (Sant Francesc)
• Avinguda Miramar, 49, opposite the tourist information point (Es Pujols)
• Avinguda 8 d’Agost, 10, Sa Senieta car park (Sant Francesc)

How the system works

All five machines work in the same way and will only accept cans or plastic bottles. Users must insert objects one at a time and, when finished, press a green button to obtain a ticket indicating their points earned. Each recyclable can or plastic bottle is equal to one eco-punt.

Recyclers can cash in points for prizes, included in a catalogue available at www.formenterabeblue.com. Points can be redeemed at Sant Francesc and La Savina's offices of tourism, the department of environment (conselleria de Medi Ambient) in Sant Ferran, and at Vell Marí in La Savina.

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