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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Environment

Waste drop-off point to stay open during Easter holiday

Porta deixalleriaThe Formentera deixalleria (waste drop-off point) will remain open Easter holiday week except Good Friday. The site serves as a collection and separation point for rubbish that is unsuitable for home pickup. It will open Maundy Thursday, Saturday and Monday for its morning hours of operation — nine in the morning to half past one. As environment councillor Daisee Aguilera reported, “We're aware that many on the island use the Easter holiday either to open shop or get ready for the season ahead. Hence the Council has asked the site's operator, Ferrovial, to remain open the coming days”.

The collection centre is located at the industrial park, between La Savina and Sant Francesc on the Sant Francesc-La Mola road, and has been in operation since May 2015. It is there that Formentera residents are requested to take any rubbish not fit for streetside bins. Normally, the centre is open mornings, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and afternoons, Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Formentera goes dark

The Formentera Council has signed on to take part in Earth Hour 2016, a worldwide push to turn off electric lights for an entire sixty minutes. Tomorrow, March 19th from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., authorities will cut off the flow of electricity to streetlamps in Sant Francesc at the town square —plaça de la Constitució— as well as carrers Eivissa and Ramón Llull.

Environment councillor Daisee Aguilera encouraged Formentera residents to “join in on the lights-out effort”, calling it a “symbolic way to take on climate change”. Every year since 2007, the World Wide Fund for Nature (better known by the initials WWF) has organised the event called Earth Hour. This year, Aguilera explained, the Council has decided to jump on board by switching off public lights along some of the main streets in Sant Francesc.

Push to clear washed up seagrass from Es Ca Marí shoreline

Foto Es Ca Marí bermes posidòniaFrom tomorrow, 17 March, the Formentera Council's office of environment will begin removing mounds of posidonia seagrass that have accumulated along the Es Ca Marí shoreline. The announcement was made by environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, who noted “the process will take between two and three days if weather is fair”. The Formentera Council will foot the bill for transport, and any residents interested in using the washed up plant matter for farming or livestock purposes should contact the office of environment. Requests can be made in person at the department (open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling 971321210.

The removal process itself will be similar to in 2014, and is being repeated at the behest of the Es Ca Marí neighbourhood association. As Aguilera explained, “in winter the area is hit by both westerly and south-westerly winds, which leads to a tightly packed build-up of seaweed that can reach three metres in height”. Studies indicate that sporadic removals are more appropriate than systematic ones, she said.

Formentera's head of environmental affairs noted the crucial role posidonia seagrass plays in the health of Formentera beaches, pointing out it prevents shoreline erosion. Local beaches are especially susceptible, which explains why complete removal of the seagrass is undesirable. According to Aguilera, the practise – which involves hauling off a portion of the accumulated plant matter – serves a dual function: allowing beach cleaning crews to do their work and preventing further spread of the washed up weeds across the coastline. She also highlighted the fact that, in the process, the tradition of reusing the material has been revived.

Posidonia for composting

The councillor noted the suitability of the dried seagrass in composting. She encouraged Formentera residents to contact the office of environment and give new use to the seagrass, whose nearby prairies have been named a World Heritage site. Aguilera also referred to a recent repurposing of the material that has long been favoured by locals: use in building. “This method has been rehashed and is being employed in the low-income housing currently under construction in Sant Ferran”.
   

Home composting course in la Mola

Curs compostatge foto premsa EDIT 350x251The Formentera Council has organised a course on home composting to take place Saturday 12 March in the primary school of la Mola. Residents interested in attending can sign up at the office of environment located on carrer Mallorca in Sant Ferran. Led by specialist Juanjo Torres of the group Amics de la Terra, the course costs €20 per person, but, as department head Daisee Aguilera pointed out in her office's presentation of the course this morning, participants will each come away with a compost bin valued at €100, as well as the knowledge of how to use it.

“Residents will have the opportunity to see how waste can be transformed into usable products. This helps people reduce the environmental impact of what they do at home”, said Aguilera. Councillor Aguilera highlighted the Formentera Council's efforts to revitalise the local countryside and said the goal of the composting classes is “to give Formentera residents the tools to use organic waste and scraps to enrich their land”. “Any waste we can reuse is waste that doesn't end up at the Es cap de Barbaria transfer plant”, she noted.

Hazel Morgan, a representative of Amics de la Terra, called the home composting push important because “it's the most sustainable way to make use of the organic waste generated at the domestic level”. For his part, Torres called home composting “surprisingly easy” and encouraged residents to seize the opportunity of the classes. He noted that compost can be used both in the garden and vegetable patch.

Composting for young people

Staff specialist Javier Asensio announced plans to hold the course at the la Mola primary school – a model site, given that the school's own vegetable garden already serves as a lesson in home composting for la Mola kids. Asensio said that beyond the course itself, which will be both theory-based and hands-on, Amics de la Terra also envisions “phone-based support and a follow-up visit to each student's home” to make sure the compost bins are being used correctly.

All additional costs will be covered by the Council; so far this has meant a contribution of €3,000. Organisers hope to schedule a second version of the course before summer starts. Between this Saturday's course and a second one, the Council says some 50 residents can benefit. The course is included as part of the activities programme for the 15th Olimpíada Pagesa. Organisers thanked the Olimpíada's planning team for their support and the Trasmapi company for helping with travel costs.

Formentera celebrates first energy efficiency day

Jornada Eficiencia Energetica premsaThe Formentera Council's offices of environment and transport have organised the first day-long reminder dedicated to promoting energy efficiency—la Jornada d'Eficiència Energètica. Today's event was just one part of the celebrations for the worldwide Energy Efficiency Day, which is set to take place this Saturday, 5 March. Eight stands were set up around the Sant Francesc square (la plaça de la Constitució) for the occasion, providing passersby with information on transport, sustainable building and clean energy.

The idea for a local celebration of the day, said councillor of environment Daisee Aguilera, emerged during the discussion that followed a 15-December screening of Ibiza y Formentera 100% renovables. As Aguilera stated, “at that point it became clear that a large portion of Formentera residents wanted more information and advice about energy efficiency”.

“That's why we've brought together the offices of the administration and different stakeholders associated with energy efficiency. Now that there is no doubt climate change is real, the goal is to reduce greenhouse gases”, said Aguilera.

Four groups—the NGO Amics de la Terra, the nonprofit Som Energia, the Balearic Islands housing institute (IBAVI) and ECOform, a company working in sustainable energy—set up informational stands to raise awareness about specific actions in their respective industries. In addition, IBAVI architect Carlos Oliver led two guided visits—the first from 12 noon to 2 p.m. and another from 4 to 5 p.m.—of the low-cost housing units currently under construction in Sant Ferran. The homes, said Councillor Aguilera, “have set the standard in energy efficiency in the Balearics”.

Sustainable transport

Councillor Rafael González, head of transport, explained his office's chief target as “promoting sustainable transport and electric vehicles on the island”. According to González, such transport supports “the model of tranquility and care for the environment that we want for Formentera”.

González pointed out that Formentera is home to 12 free recharge points with a total capacity of 28 vehicles. Moreover, he noted, the Council offers “tax incentives, like requiring electric car drivers to pay only 25% of the circulation tax”. Among the other perks for those who make the electric leap, the transport councillor touted free parking in la Savina and free entry to the Ses Salines national park.

Three electric vehicle rent-a-car agencies—Ok Cars, Cooltra and Europcar—displayed some of their fleet on the square and the Es Brolls company had electric bikes for sale. For his part, Joan Groizard, director general of energy and climate change of the Govern Balear, attended the event as well. He put it simply: “What we need in the islands is a change in our energy model”.

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Balears Life Posidonia

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