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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Environment

Cruise liners dock at distance from posidonia prairies

Foto ocean majestySpeaking earlier today, the councillor of environment of the Formentera Council, Daisee Aguilera, reported that “all the cruise ships that have made stops so far this season in Formentera's waters have done it in an area of the port without posidonia seagrass”. The feat reflects a commitment made by the Council last summer to preserve prairies of the seagrass in the waters of la Savina.

Aguilera said she was glad that “this summer we'll be able to balance tourist cruise liners with protection of the heritage plant, posidonia,” something the councillor called “a priority issue for the Council”. She also thanked entities like the Balearic port authority and the maritime authority, who made it possible for cruise ships to anchor away from the port zone proper, and ship operators for their participation. The Star flyer made a stop in Formentera May 4 and the Ocean Majesty on May 21. Most recently, the Artania pulled into port yesterday.

In all three cases, the Council contacted the port and maritime authorities, Autoritat Portuària de Balears and Capitania Marítima, to suggest alternatives to the ships dropping anchor on the posidonia-covered floor of la Savina port zone two. According to Aguilera, the Council proposed anchorage a mile northwest of the port, in a sandy area that is 40 metres deep, to avoid damage to prairies of Formentera's signature seagrass. The APB has reported that, for the time being, no more cruise ships are scheduled to dock at the island this summer.

Can Ramon added to Formentera Council's catalogue of heritage sites

Foto ple maigThe Formentera Council convened its May plenary session today, an event that was marked by the adoption of a proposal concerning Can Ramon, a home and heritage site in Sant Francesc. The unanimously-adopted proposal calls for the detailed reparcelling study and ultimate restoration of the property, which, as CiF land councillor Alejandra Ferrer explained, will house Formentera's future ethnological interpretation centre.

The go-ahead was also given to a measure to back the international bid to put dry stone on UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage Assets. Further to that end, plenary members voted as one to support a proposal to begin proceedings declaring the traditional technique of dry stone wall-building an Intangible Cultural Heritage Asset. According to Susana Labrador, chair of the Council's Office of Patrimony, the goal is “ensure the protection of this craft, an important part of our island's intangible heritage.”

Plenary members additionally greenlighted a proposal install a new stage in the Council's cultural hall, a site known popularly as la Sala de Cultura that also houses the island's cinema. Lastly, plenary participants voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance laying out guidelines of use at the Formentera cemetery.

Report from Office of Environment
Finally, Daisee Aguilera, the CiF's councillor of environment, highlighted biodiversity preservation projects from within her department that aim to protect island assets like posidonia sea grass, white pines and lizards. In addition, the councillor pointed to what she called “even grander efforts” to scuttle oil exploration projects in nearby waters and promote climate change-tackling renewable energies.

Aguilera also touted her office's administration of basic services like solid waste treatment in urban areas and oversight of water and electricity supplies. She underscored the importance of “continuing to educate and raise awareness among young and old alike” in terms of “how best to defend the green values that define our marvelous corner of paradise.” Aguilera took the opportunity to take stock of all of the current CiF Office of Environment projects devised to “ensure Formentera loses nothing of what makes it so special and unique”.

Talking good disposal habits: environment canvasser to raise awareness among business owners and residents

Foto RP Campanya gestio residusThe Formentera Council has announced details behind its summer push for good rubbish disposal habits. Under the tagline “The island's image is in everyone's hands”, the campaign was described today in press conference by CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera and a clutch of other stakeholders on the campaign, including the person tasked with leading street-level outreach, Begoña Jiménez. Joining Aguilera  and Jiménez were two representatives from Ferrovial Servicios, the concession-holding company for waste collection in the Balearics. Eduardo Azcona, head of the company's Balearic division, and Silvia Carcelero, head of services on Formentera, sat alongside Podarcis president Dani Ramón, whose company is charged with designing the campaign.

The upshot of the campaign, says Councillor Aguilera, is about “connecting with locals and raising awareness”. With that in mind, the Council has hired an outreach ambassador on a six-month contract to go door-to-door talking to Formentera business owners about good rubbish disposal practises. She will also assure a presence near street-side bins. There, her duties will include explaining rules and new procedures to residents and sussing out possible service shortfalls. The Council and Ferrovial will use the information to improve collection and determine necessary courses of action, which could range from increased monitoring and fining to service changes.

Clean-up day
One of the first efforts associated with the 2016 campaign will be an undersea clean-up push on the morning of Saturday May 21. The initiative has received the support of dive centres and underwater activity companies alike. Participants, Aguilera explained, will join forces in day-long cleaning efforts at Punta Pedrera, Es Caló de s'Oli and Espalmador, in an effort to “get our seabed as clean as possible for the start of summer”. Clean-up crews will meet at 9.00am in front of the Formentera Mar tower in la Savina. Anyone interested in volunteering should call 971321210 or send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The environment office has also published a brochure, posters and decals with tips about which rubbish goes where. The CiF canvasser will hand out the material at strategic points on the island, like sites where illegal dumping infractions have spiked. The newly modified municipal anti-dumping ordinance imposes three scales of fines, €150-€900, €900-€45,000 and €45,000-€1,750,000, depending on whether the violation is deemed minor, serious or very serious.

The brochure also features a QR code which allows residents to complete a survey about local waste collection and make suggestions regarding service improvements. Last year, more than eight thousand tonnes of rubbish —consisting of 24 per cent recyclable material— was collected on the island. Launched today, “The island's image is in everyone's hands” is aimed at pushing Formentera recycling rates even higher.

Schoolchildren on Formentera get a lesson in recycling

Foto campanya pilesToday on the island, the non-profit group Ecopilas led collections of used batteries at three primary schools. The idea of the campaign was to impress upon children the importance of recycling what amount to hazardous materials. Ecopilas' president José Pérez also seized on the opportunity to familiarise the students with battery disposal bins. He said the goal was to see proper disposal of batteries increase on the island.

CiF councillors Daisee Aguilera of the environment office and Jordi Vidal of sports were both on hand when kids at Mestre Lluís Andreu primary school had their session. Councillor Aguilera drove home the importance of pushing for environmental awareness from a young age, a value she said was also apparent in past beach cleaning campaigns which received help from schools.

The Ecopilas foundation is a sponsor of the Formentera Half Marathon. Tomorrow, they are asking runners to bring their used batteries to the race. Councillor Vidal thanked the foundation for its support of the marathon and reminded residents that the school battery collections were part of Esport és +, an ongoing initiative to promote the positive values inherent in sports.

La Mola gets pilot programme to curb snake population

Foto reunio serpsAt eight yesterday evening in the Casa del Poble community centre of la Mola, Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, environment councillor Daisee Aguilera and the regional minister of the Govern Balear, Vicenç Vidal, met to unveil information on a new push to control numbers of snakes on the island, a joint campaign led by the CiF and the administration in Palma.

According to Councillor Aguilera, since April 29 eighteen cages built by students at Eivissa's school of art and artisanry have been set up around the island. With 20 snakes nabbed, Aguilera assured the traps were already proving their worth. Another five traps will be installed today, though if necessary that number could increase to 100. Aguilera indicated that so far efforts have focused on la Mola, the most affected area on the island, but said other traps would be laid elsewhere to establish the full scope of the snakes' spread. She enlisted the entire island to help keep numbers under control, directing residents who see snakes to “report it to the Office of Environment.”

As Minister Vidal pointed out, this species of snakes is invasive on Formentera and, in his words, “a threat to our local biodiversity”. Nevertheless, he assured residents there was no reason to panic. According to Vidal, the species targeted —Rhinechis scalaris—, “poses no threat to people.” As a problem affecting both Formentera and Eivissa, the climbing snake numbers received the attention of the Govern Balear, which is leading the current charge. The officials also identified another objective: preventing the arrival of new snakes, which generally come as stowaways on ornamental olive trees shipped from the mainland.

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