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Formentera takes day out for forest-fire prevention

From 5.00pm to 8.00pm on Thursday, April 26, in the administration's hall of ceremonies, or Sala d'Actes, Formentera's Office of Environment will host a day dedicated to forest-fire prevention.

Formentera is an island with an unusually high ratio of forested land. Approximately 800 local buildings lack buffers protecting them against wildfires. Such buffers are not only considered necessary, they are also a legally-mandated safeguard which can facilitate the work of fire fighters.

Thursday, homeowners and forest-service professionals alike will be given tips on how to reduce the likelihood of a forest fire happening, and what to do in case one occurs.

Heavy rainfall this winter has so far prompted a springtime surge in growth of wooded areas. Rural affairs secretary Bartomeu Escandell described sound management of rural and forested land as “critical to keeping wildfire risk at bay” and encouraged as many islanders as possible to participate.

Formentera ramps up pest control measures after wet winter

Foto control de moscards 2The Formentera Council's department of environment is unveiling its newest crusade to keep numbers of mosquitos and lake flies under control in the ses Salines nature preserve. Operations are planned at a handful of fresh water points, generally preferred sites among pests depositing their larvae, at s'Estany Pudent, s'Estany des Peix and ses Salines d'en Marroig.

As crews got to work yesterday covering the treatment area, they noted considerable buildup of stagnant water, attributed to heavy rainfall early in the year. Those conditions likely resulted in the upwelling of mosquitos, both larvae and fully-grown adults.

Those circumstances were part of what prompted the decision to step up efforts in 2018. Namely, this year's campaign involves a 31-day, two-part application plan as opposed to the 24-day programme that was implemented in 2017. The first part, dubbed the “shock” phase, involves three weeks' worth of twice-weekly dustings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In the second phase, treatment will be scaled back to once a week.

Crews are using the maximum dosage allowed by law as they spray a bio agent called Bacillus thuringiensis Israeliensis across parts of ses Salines. The idea is to achieve maximum ambient levels of the substance, a natural insecticide that works by acting directly on larvae growing in stagnant water.

After the first day of operations, department head Daisee Aguilera, noting not only the glut of standing water but also forecasts of mounting temperatures in the days ahead, defended the decision to move up this year's start date and intensify application during the first three weeks. “Intensification of the campaign lets us take aim at the swelling mosquito population and deal with some of the negative ways its affecting islanders”, Aguilera said.

Two operators oversee control measures, which involve special rucksacks that are filled the insecticide and fitted with dusting equipment. Spraying the product in its pulverised state is seen as a more effective form of application. The effort is scheduled to continue through October.

Though the price tag initially placed on 2018 operations, €32,075, is nearly ten thousand euros more than the amount set aside for last year's campaign, officials have already said they are prepared to increase this figure should inconvenciences associated with the mosquitos and lake flies persist.

Coastal cleanup

Cartell neteja platgesThe Formentera Council's mobility office reports that the environmental group Que Celeste will once again stage a beach cleanup on Sunday, April 22.

The event will get under way at 11.00am and participants are being asked to meet in the es Ministre car park. Volunteer crews will be provided with rubbish bags and other materials to assist in the removal process, compliments of the Council and the Govern balear.

Apart from cleaning, volunteers will also be enlisted to bring tourists up to speed on the importance of keeping Formentera's beaches clean and throwing litter into dedicated bins near local swimming areas.

'Portugese man o' war' turns up on Formentera seaboard

Foto caravella 1Formentera's Office of Environment reports that in recent days roughly one hundred jellyfish-like organisms, dubbed the Portugese man o' war, have turned up at local beaches and swimming spots.

Cleaning crews, which picked up 89 of the marine hydrozoans from Migjorn beach, removed another nine from the area of coast between cala Embaster and es Caló de Sant Agustí and several more from Illetes.

What to do if you find a Portugese man o' war
Beachgoers who come across a man o' war on the beach should telephone 112. The emergency service has been directed to document information on sightings and pass it along to the Council so the organisms can be removed.

Under no circumstances should one attempt to touch a man o' war. Likewise, pet owners are advised to keep their animals from sniffing or stepping on any that wash up on the shore.

The CiF environment office reminds islanders that surges in cases of Portugese man o' war or other organisms on the local seaboard are linked to marine and wind currents. As with similar species, anyone comes across a Portugese man o' war should remain calm and proceed with caution.

Formentera renews pact with Aliança Mar Blava

foto alianca mar blava3Two Formentera Council officials —President Jaume Ferrer and environment secretary Daisee Aguilera— met in the administration's hall of ceremonies today with a pair of Aliança Mar Blava representatives —Chairwoman Sandra Benbeniste and Secretary Flor dell'Agnolo— to extend the two entities' partnership another year.

Ferrer highlighted the importance of Aliança Mar Blava's efforts to stop petroleum prospections —“a fight that continues today”, he said, “particularly with projects still ahead on the horizon”. Speaking on behalf of the administration, he also voiced his hope any future projects would meet a prompt end. Ferrer described the Council's long-standing relationship with Aliança Mar Blava as “key to winning a strong consensus” when the Formentera Council presents comments on the Govern balear's newest climate-change legislation—a law Formentera officials believe is crucial to promoting renewable energy.

Sandra Benbeniste thanked the Formentera Council for its support mobilising an effort that blocked five potentially destructive projects in the Mediterranean and the Balearics. “Administrations, civil society, political parties and businesses, everyone contributed”she said, adding that, “it's a satisfying moment. When we're united, we get where we need to go”. Benbeniste pointed to a bid currently afoot for legislation to keep the Mediterranean prospection-free and block new projects, “like in France and other places in the world”.

Circling back to Ferrer's remarks earlier, Benbeniste spoke about a second goal—renewable energies—and “drawing on our strength to create consensus and get a deal on renewables”. “Our job here”, said the chairwoman, “is to make sure people are informed about the new climate-change law, give our review of it, and —especially— support it, because we think it's important this gets broad acceptance”.

Under today's deal, the first in 2018 between Aliança Mar Blava and the Council, the Council pledges €6,000—one thousand more than Formentera's commitment in 2017.

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