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Formentera joins Earth Hour planetary pact

foto Hora del planetaThis year, as in years past, the Formentera Council has signed on to Earth Hour, a worldwide movement to turn off the electricity this Saturday, March 24. Between 8.30pm and 9.30pm, the lights in Sant Francesc's central plaza and church will be shut off in observance of the event.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera encouraged islanders to join in on the planetary lights-off event, calling the action “symbolic but a needed boost to visibility for the movement to combat climate change”.

Earth Hour got its start 11 years ago in Sydney as a symbolic action to draw attention to climate change. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) proposed switching off lights across households, buildings and emblematic landmarks for one hour as a simple effort to make a change. The Council decided to take part by cutting the lights at some of the primary roads in Sant Francesc.

Last year, in 2017, thousands of cities joined in from 187 countries. Upwards of 12,000 iconic monuments and buildings went dark for an hour, uniting people, businesses, municipalities and government agencies in the effort to squash climate change. With a diverse blend of activities—from promoting sustainable modes of living and pushing renewable development, to protecting our forests, seas and natural resources and fighting to preserve biodiversity—the day has turned into a wonderful opportunity to engage in care for the planet.

Boats left on Estany des Peix waterline get heave-ho

Retirada embarcacio estany des peix redux2The Formentera Council's Office of Environment reports that thirteen ships—auxiliary vessels, mostly, as well as two trailers, five windsurf boards and one kayak—have been hauled away from the lake known as Estany des Peix since last September.

The operation was carried out only after checks of the area confirmed the boats were, if not abandoned, at least likely polluters in the event adverse weather were to cause a vessel to run aground or sink, provoking, in consequence, fuel spills.

The Council may contact the appropriate authorities, whether Demarcació de Costes or the regional environment department-controlled Ses Salines reserve, to order the immediate removal of boats or other floating craft which could contain hazardous-waste pollutants or pose a threat to other navigators. If the time since a ship's most recent activity exceeds one month, and it occupies a public shore, the vessel may be considered waste, in which case the Formentera Council can order its removal and levy a corresponding fine.

Trumpeting the Estany des Peix's distinction as a protected public space, environment councillor Daisee Aguilera advocated a return to traditional uses of the lake as well as a dial-down of the commercial pressure it endures today.

Currently in the works is a proposal by the Formentera Council to regulate moorage of watercraft in the prized natural space.

Fresh crop of courses aims to teach islanders how to compost at home

Curs compostatge fotoThe Formentera Council's Office of Environment is coordinating a new round of courses on home composting. Alternating between the Council's Sala d'Actes and Capella de sa Tanca Vella children's garden, the classes will take place from 11.00am to 1.30pm on Sunday, March 18, and Saturday, March 24. All those interested can register at the CiF environment office, located in Sant Ferran on carrer Mallorca, or online at the OVAC.

Classes will be led by Juanjo Torres, a specialist from Amics de la Terra. The €20/student registration fee includes a composting device valued at €65 (plus an aerator and a user's manual) and all the knowledge needed to use it.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera called the courses “a chance to transform waste into something useful and reduce our environmental footprint here at home”.  Aguilera continued:“We hope that, armed with this knowledge, islanders will be able to enrich their land and keep organic rubbish out of es Cap de Barbaria's treatment plant”.

In addition to the classes, which are a mix of theory and on-hand practice, Amics de la Terra offers phone assistance and the possibility of getting ongoing feedback from Torres. The instructor will conduct home visits to gauge each student's success with the composters.

By covering €3,000 of the courses' costs, the Formentera Council makes sure 50 islanders can receive the composting training. Formentera's Office of Environment and Amics de la Terra also wish to thank Trasmapi for the transport assistance they provide during the course.

Formentera takes day for forest-fire prevention

Faixa forestal es ram fotoOn Tuesday, March 6, in the administration's former hall of ceremonies, 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.

Tuesday, 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.

Homes and businesses in Sant Ferran get monthly, use-based water bills

Telectura formenteraFormentera's Office of Environment has teamed up with Aqualia to announce that from March, and pending final upgrades to a system of smart water metres, bills sent to homes and businesses on Sant Ferran's water grid will not only be issued on a monthly basis, they will now reflect exact consumption.

The system, whose use of telelecturas (lectura means “reading”) means that real-time checks of water metres can be done daily without an agent travelling to the site in question, makes possible remote, automatic readings which are forwarded directly to the Aqualia office. The water metres emit a signal every eight seconds. The information on water use travels to a computer at command central, where another programme is deployed to automatically calculate billing information.

The system provides homes and businesses a clearer picture of their water use and associated costs. Consumers, who now have the option to make monthly payments, are better able to spot things like billing problems, possible leaks and unusually high consumption.

No rate changes will take place as part of the tweak.

Aqualia reminds its customers that an associated app, “Smart aqua”lets them remotely check water use at their home and, likewise, that everyone has the option to receive water bills by email. Customers can opt for e-billing, which has the same validity as a normal bill, by calling 902 18 60 18 or on Aqualia's local web site:

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