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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Environment

Formentera on board with Earth Hour

Jake abbott higuera nuitte cel nocturnThe Formentera Council has renewed its commitment to the planet with Earth Hour 2017, a call to cut the lights tomorrow, March 25. From 8.30 to 9.30pm, electric lighting across plaça de la Constitució and carrers Eivissa and Ramón Llull will be switched off.

Appealing for broad public participation, environment councillor Daisee Aguilera called the worldwide lights-out event “a symbolic act against climate change”. For ten years World Wide Fund for Nature has helmed the Earth Hour movement. “The Formentera Council felt strongly about joining the effort,” said the councillor, “and opted to turn out the lights at some of Sant Francesc's main roads”.

Crews haul littered waste from es Brolls arterial

Neteja cami des brollsLoads of dumped construction materials and metal parts have been cleared from camí des Brolls and nearby land, according to the environment office of the Formentera Council. Crews removed 120 cubic metres of building supplies and four of scrap metal. The effort, said environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, was part of a plenary accord.

Aguilera expressed her hope that no future dumping occur on the newly reclaimed land, an area of significant environmental interest. The councillor encouraged people to dispose of unwanted items at the island's rubbish collection point (“deixalleria”) or the waste treatment plant in es Cap de Barbaria.

The initiative, ok'd by ses Salines park and the coastal authority, included use of a lorry specially-equipped to reduce its impact on the surrounding area.

Formentera waterworks rolls out smart metres in Sant Ferran

Presentacio aqualiaEarlier today environment councillor Daisee Aguilera took part in a Sant Ferran presentation of a pilot programme to track water use remotely. With Eduardo del Castillo, head of the Balearic arm of Aqualia, and Luis López, the company's regional production chief, the demo got under way at 11.30am in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council's central office.

The smart tracking system of real-time, daily controls eliminates the need for manual checks of the metres, thus allowing remote, automatic readings to be sent directly, every eight seconds, to a central processing unit at Aqualia. Data on consumption travels back to the unit for processing and cost calcuation by a management programme.

A plus for users
The new system carries many consumer advantages, first the elimination of house calls and, by extension, the need to estimate readings. Detection of internal leaks can provide early indicators to possible equipment failures and help avoid ballooning bills. By highlighting irregular metre activity and delivering hourly breakdowns on water use, the previously unavailable technology enables technicians to pin down leaks owing to breakage or fraud.

Mr del Castillo said the enhanced efficiency of real-time tracking would translate into increased sustainability and greener consumption habits, not to mention a safer, more secure management of the water supply—“particularly important here on Formentera,” he added.

Mr López cited 393,600 remote readings of 205 metres in the first three months since the programme was launched. In 2016, the total number of manual readings in all of Formentera was 11,200.

As for the system's ability to detect leaks, López pointed to five cases already spotted in Sant Ferran this year. The average loss of each, said the Aqualia spokesman, was 17 litres (l) per hour, “the equivalent of 12,240l per month and 146,880l annually”. The town's remote tracking system, which produces readings of various manufacturer models and allows for operation across a local interface, also cuts out the need to periodically renew third-party licence agreements.

Aguilera, for her part, assured there would be no direct impact on water rates and pledged that fuller data on the supply grid would make for better return on Formentera's investment.

In the councillor's words, “this innovative system hands municipal waterworks detailed, objective input on water use in the area that will be instrumental to defining future infrastructure investment. Privy to irregularities like spikes in use or malfunctioning equipment, consumers will have the tools to avoid wasting water”.

Using the Smart Aqua app, Sant Ferran residents will soon be able to see their water use broken down by the hour, even tracking consumption remotely.

Formentera presents plan to improve waste collection

biotrituradora restes podaYesterday's meeting of Formentera's guild of associations, convened to discuss issues related to the environment, included the unveiling of a draft plan for local waste management. Representatives from 11 island groups were there to pick up their copies of the document, which they will review and possibly amend in the coming days.

According to CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, the aim of the document, which was prepared by green consultants Geprecon, is both to “define the model Formentera uses for waste management” and “align it with European and national standards like cutting down on landfill use for biodegradable items and stepping up recycling”. The ultimate goal, in the words of the councillor, is to increase Formentera's sustainability.

The document calls for two treatment plants—one for “building and demolition materials, where construction firms and the Council will be allowed to reuse materials” and another “for organic compost,” envisioned as a fertiliser source for Formentera fields.

Under the plan, organic compost would first be collected directly from big producers like restaurants and hotels. By the second year, a dedicated treatment plant—and street-side collection bins—would allow for an expanded service, available to the general public.

Improvements and savings
Current figures put Formentera's recycling at three times the national average, though measures included in the document would take those trends even further. One suggestion at yesterday's gathering, said Aguilera, was to extend the push to do away with plastic bags: “Formentera was among the first to take aim at plastic bags at checkout areas. Now we're ready to do more.”

Councillor Aguilera expressed her hopes that the plan, which could be adopted before year-end, has the support of the people of Formentera. “At the end of the day,” she explained, “they've got the final say when it comes to improving our rubbish disposal practices”.

Reshuffling shade spots in Ses Salines park

Foto reposicio umbraclesThe Formentera Council is moving shaded areas in the car park adjacent to Pirata beach bar, located on the island's eastern coast. For the last month, crews have been preparing the site to reinstall pergolas, or shade-providing structures, across the lot. The work, which the Council says should be complete before next month, consisted in removing the previous structures, levelling the earth and installing the new pergolas.

The undertaking cost the Council €50,000. As Office of Environment head Daisee Aguilera pointed out, the lower-than-standard figure reflected a reduction applied by the coastal authority to the administration's lease of the land. Until 2016 the Council paid an annual sum of €45,000 to occupy the land where the parking area sits. In 2016, they paid €4,200. According to Aguilera, the discount stemmed from the Council's pledge to invest €50,000 into moving the pergolas.

Though that amount won't cover the cost of repositioning all of the shade spots in Ses Salines, Aguilera described the effort as ongoing and said she hoped a similar agreement could be reached this year as well.

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