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Environment

Some 1,500 caterpillar nests removed in first week of push to tackle pine processionary

foto-2-campanya-processiona--rThe Formentera Department of Environment is one week in to a new campaign to curb the local spread of the pine processionary caterpillar. Scheduled to conclude next Thursday, the effort, which has seen the administration partner with Ibanat and the Balearic healthy forests division, has involved the contracting of a specialist forestry firm to remove caterpillar nests and send them to the treatment plant for controlled burning. Nearly 1,500 nests have been removed in the seven days since the €4,436 initiative was activated.

Operations have so far centred on Es Ca Marí, Es Carnatge, Punta Prima, Es Cap, Cala en Baster and Migjorn, and have been made possible by additional help from islanders, who can report nests found on the island by using the pinpoint tracking feature of the Línea Verde app, phoning the environment office at 971.32.12.10, or sending the office an email at mediambient@conselldeformentera.cat   .

Islanders and hunters pitch in, too
Environment councillor Antonio J Sanz applauded everyday islanders for “finding and reporting nests so that they can be removed”, and highlighted the “seriousness of the pest’s exponential propagation in recent years”. Sanz called on affected landowners to join in the effort to stem the caterpillar’s spread across island trees. Article 9 of legislation passed on 20 November 2002 to protect plant health requires islanders whose property includes areas of forest affected by the caterpillar to keep trees healthy.

Sanz also highlighted efforts this January that saw local hunters firing off more than one thousand shells in the space of a weekend in order to get rid of nests.

The campaign is carried out in coordination with the Balearic Ministry of Environment and is part of a plan launched in October to tackle the plague. A helicopter was used during early stages of the effort to complete aerial dustings of Bacillus thuringiensis over affected areas.

13 February 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

In 2019, spike in organics collection and improved separation behind 5% drop in new waste

photo-2020-02-06-10-35-22-1-Formentera’s environment department reports that islanders generated 5% less waste from 2018 to 2019, sending upwards of 9.5 thousand tonnes to Eivissa’s Ca na Putxa treatment plant compared to just over ten thousand the year before.

The figures mark a considerable drop, and, according to environment councillor Antonio J Sanz, can mostly be traced to two factors: “First, awareness is growing and users are getting better at separating glass, paper and cardboard. Second, the dip is commensurate to the nearly 30% spike we saw this year in organics collection”. Organics pick-up went from just shy of 541t in 2018 to over 700t a year later. Sanz tied the figures to the door-to-door recycling push which has mainly involved businesses and large-scale waste generators in Es Pujols. That service has had help from two figures assigned to provide support: ecological educators and the local environment office’s environmental advocate.

Other figures

Last year, residents of local towns generated just over 6,900t of solid waste—an 8.1% drop compared to nearly 7,510t the year prior. Paper and cardboard collection was also up 0.3% (from 955t to 958t); plastics collection rose by 19% (from 570t to 680t) and glass collection fell by 0.16t, or 2%.

Together with the numbers for recyclable materials like glass, plastics and paper/cardboard, this year’s figures for organics collection bring Formentera closer to the objectives laid out by a 2009 bill on waste and polluted soils according to which recyclables should amount to half of the total weight of waste material. Today that figure is 32.5%—four percentage points higher than last year.

The month of August experienced the highest waste collections of the year (1.6t), followed by July (1.5t) and June (1.3t). December and January were the two months when pickup was lowest (357t and 364t, respectively).

Sanz pointed out that the growth of the pickup service had been studied and that reinforcements had come in those services where operatives said it was needed to prevent bin overflow and unlawful dumping. Street cleaners were also dispatched in greater number, as were individuals responsible for emptying street-side bins in the centres of towns like La Mola and Es Pujols—part of an effort to bring the service in line with actual needs.

271 pallets in four months

The environment department reports that repurposed pallets are behind more than €1,150 in savings at the island’s rubbish drop-off point, where 271 pallets have been diverted from their normal route —chipping at Formentera’s waste treatment plant, and shipment to Eivissa— since the 18 September launch of a programme to keep pallets out of landfills.

Anyone interested in picking up extra pallets can visit the Deixalleria’s drop-off and pick-up point. Pallets must be used sensibly and may not be resold, and people are asked to comply with related environmental regulations. Burning pallets treated with paints or varnishes is expressly prohibited.

6 February 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera announces aid to equip businesses and homes for solar and micro-wind energy

Formentera’s environment office is calling on residents, businesses and local associations to submit requests to the Balearic government for financial assistance installing solar and micro-wind energy.

Details will be unveiled in the hall of ceremonies next Tuesday 21 January at a 4.00pm presentation where the regional minister of energy transition, Juan Pedro Yllanes, Formentera’s environment councillor Antonio J Sanz, local land councillor Rafael González and Aitor Urresti, who heads the Govern balear’s energy and climate change division, will all be on hand.

Mr Sanz encouraged islanders to come out for Tuesday’s presentation: “This money is one more incentive to incorporate renewable energy and ween ourselves off the conventional power grid”.

Small- and medium-sized businesses, business groups, property owners’ associations and nonprofits can claim rebates on investments in new solar panel infrastructure, not to mention on expansion of existing installations of up to 50 kWp. For private homeowners, the limit is 3 kWp. Installations that exceed the limits are still eligible for assistance corresponding to the first 50 (or 3) kWp.

Small businesses, nonprofits, business groups and individuals that use micro-wind energy installations are eligible for aid corresponding to the first 10 kWp. Windmills must be integrated into surroundings and metallic, lattice-style supports are prohibited.

Eligible investments in lithium ion trapping systems incorporated into new solar and micro-wind installations must have a storage potential of 2 to 12 kwp and a minimum five-year guarantee certified by the manufacturer.

Total funding
For individual islanders, nonprofits and homeowners’ associations, funding will be capped at half the total project cost. It will be capped at 30% of the project cost for small businesses and business groups.

Terms and conditions
Projects be conducted in the Balearic Islands between the day applications are submitted and the date the awarding process is finalised, and no later than 30 September 2020.

The application period started 7 January and concludes 28 March 2020.

The current call for applications is aimed at incentivising the use of renewable energy sources which reduce the strain on the conventional energy grid. Hence, submitted projects must not have begun before the date a funding request for is received. This does not include preparatory work such as permit gathering and preliminary feasibility studies.

Fifty percent of the current round of assistance is funded by the Balearic Islands’ ERDF Operational Programme for 2014-2020.


17 January 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

 

Ferrer and Yllanes meet to shape strategy around Formentera’s energy situation

reunioenergiaj1Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer met at the seat of local government today with the deputy first minister and minister of energy and manufacturing in the Balearics, Juan Pedro Yllanes. Other participants included Formentera’s councillors of land and environment, Antonio J Sanz and Rafael González, respectively, and Aitor Urresti, who heads the regional government’s energy and climate change division.

Among the numerous points of key importance for Formentera that came up for discussion at the gathering, energy was the common thread. The deputy first minister described plans to instal a third electric cable linking Eivissa and Formentera, highlighting continued progress and environmental studies of the project now under way.

Talk also focused on the response to problems faced by islanders living near the Es Ca Marí substation, with Ferrer pleading for “urgent action” to alleviate the situation.

Energy facilities
Ferrer said work had already begun on Formentera’s special renewable energy plan to regulate and mandate the energetic, environmental and aesthetic sustainability of power stations on the island.

Conseller Yllanes reminded islanders about an info session set to take place this afternoon on money that the regional government in Palma is offering people who instal solar panels. President Ferrer called on the entire island to join the renewable energy cause—a prospect which, according to Yllanes, “Formentera’s size and consumption patterns make a whole lot easier”.

27 January 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera to islanders: ‘Report caterpillar nests found on property’

processiona--riajjjPer article 19 of a piece of legislation known as Healthy Vegetation Act 43/2002, the Formentera environment office wishes to remind islanders of their duty to report any pine processionary nests they discover and maintain wooded areas on their property in healthy conditions. Recently, the Healthy Forests Service of the Balearic Islands’ Natural Spaces and Biodiversity Section used a specially adapted helicopter to tackle the pine processionary plague with aerial dustings of the biological agent Bacillus thuringiensis.

Environment councillor Antonio J. Sanz held it up as “a particularly important measure” and reminded landowners on the island that they are responsible for removing nests or contacting the environment office should doing so prove impossible.

The caterpillars’ winter march towards untreated corners of the island is visible in dry leaves at the tips of branches and the pests’ formation into nests to stay warm. The pine processionary feeds on the leaves of white pines, reaping grave damage if the feedings become intense or frequent enough, or if the affected trees are in a weakened state. Bearing this last point in mind is particularly important, since the pest can become highly problematic for pine groves.

The environment arm of the Consell de Formentera and the Balearic Healthy Forests’ Service wish to remind islanders:

1.- Report any detected pine processionary caterpillars, including location and number of nests, to the authorities. This can be done on the Linea Verde app, online, or in person at the Department of Environment.

2.- Any detected nests should be destroyed.

3.- The best way to stem the pine processionary’s spread is by cutting loose its nests and incinerating them.

4.- Protective measures (wearing long-sleeved shirts, gloves and protective goggles) are recommended to make sure the caterpillar’s irritating hairs don’t affect the person doing the cutting.

5.- Remember that the caterpillar’s hairs can came come off in the wind (or when a nest is cut loose) and cause rashes or allergic reactions if they come in contact with skin. Hence, individuals are encouraged to cut the nests with one’s back to oncoming wind.

6.- Nests that are removed should be incinerated one by one, far from forested areas to keep the rist of fire to a minimum.

7.- The caterpillars can also be destroyed by squashing them mechanically or shooting at them with a firearm. In the latter case, the operator of the gun must possess a hunting permit and meet other regulations concerning open hunting and special seasonal guidelines (as posted in issue 91 of the Balearic gazette of 6 July 2019).

For more information visit the Healthy Forests’ Service website at http://sanitatforestal.caib.es, call the office at 971 17 66 66 or send them an email (sanitatforestal@caib.es). Islanders can alternately visit Formentera’s environment office (in Sant Ferran at Carrer Mallorca, 15), telephone the office at 971 32 12 10 (extension 1) or email mediambient@conselldeformentera.cat.

13 January 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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