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Care recipients at Formentera's 'day centre' learn to make toothpaste

foto taller pasta de dents 3Islanders obtaining care at the local facility for dependent individuals got a lesson this morning in all-natural toothpaste-making. The initiative was made possible by Jorien and Guille of Eco Bus America and Duo Todo.

Perambulating Europe in a van, the two youths are on a mission to raise awareness about environmental issues through organised classes, workshops and talks. On the island this week thanks to an invitation from hometown association Qué Celeste, the twosome will visit more than just Formentera's centre de dia (literally "day centre" in Catalan), they'll also be stopping in at local schools—to offer tips on life without plastic, and to talk about the project hatched by Jorien to traverse the Americas from south to north, educating school children in towns along the way.

Today, as Jorien and Guille walked up to the dependent care centre, the task at hand was a simple, hands-on workshop where attendees would learn to concoct a natural toothpaste from coconut oil, baking soda and mint essential oil. The students diligently measured out the proper quantities of the ingredients, whipping the mix until it formed a gooey paste and placing the finished product in the refrigerator to cool. At the end, participants were left with a toothpaste free of additives and microplastics.

The pair will repeat the experiment this Thursday and Friday at primary schools in Sant Francesc and La Mola, leaving organic toothpaste to the pupils at each school.

Qué Celeste festival turns three

The Formentera stop on Jorien and Guille's eco adventure is part of the run-up to the third Festival Qué Celeste. At 8.00pm this Thursday the festival kicks off in the Sant Ferran square with a demonstration of the duo's project and ensuing screening of a documentary called “Sonic Sea”. There will be a discussion following the film and then an acoustic concert by Eco Bus America and Duo Todo's Jorien and Guille.

The festival's main events hit Friday and Saturday at 5.00pm, when the town square hosts workshops, displays of recycled art, talks, circus demos and musical performances until two in the morning.

Formentera gets ready for World Cleanup Day

foto-world-cleanup-day--1-Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera was joined by spokespeople for the newly formed Plastic Free Formentera platform, Qué Celeste association and other companies and partnering entities in leading a morning presentation of World Cleanup Day, the largest initiative of its kind ever and one which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 15.

World Cleanup
The World Cleanup movement started in Estonia in 2008 when fifty thousand people cleaned the entire country in just five hours. Since then the action model “A country in a day” has toured the globe, becoming one of the world's fastest spreading popular movements.

A subset of the World Cleanup movement called “Let's do it” purports to raise awareness about waste and plastics and promote alternatives. Local organisers have described the initiative as “about opening people's eyes about the waste in our surroundings and doing our part, however small, to educate ourselves and search for a solution”.

How to get involved
Anyone interested in participating should contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,visit the “Plastic Free Formentera” Facebook page, or send a Whatsapp message to coordinator Mikel Gabarain at 667 520 873.

Participants, who may assemble their own cleaning team or join another one in existence already, must congregate at one of the meeting points. There, from 10.00am to late in the afternoon, they will be given bags, gloves and informational material.

To collaborate, smartphone users can also download the Línea Verde app in order to pinpoint spots in need of a cleanup ahead of Saturday's get-together. The goal is to create a map that organisers can use as they decide on where to dispatch groups.

Meeting places
The day, which has been organised to allow for activities all over the island, includes a range of hours, to let everyone take part who wants the opportunity to do so.

• Capella de sa Tanca Vella, Sant Francesc, at 10.00am.
• Cala en Baster, at 10.30am. (Associació de Veïns Illa de Formentera)
• Insotel Formentera Playa, at 12 noon. (Be Blue by Trasmapi)
• Platja d'es Pujols, at12 noon. (Associació Qué Celeste)
• Cala Saona, at 5.30pm. (Formentera Walking)
• És Calo de Sant Agustí, at 6.00pm. (Disfruta Formentera)
• Neteges del fons marí a s’Espalmador; horari a consultar a Vellmarí i Formentera Divers. (For small groups. Registration required.)
• La Mola lighthouse, Sunday September 16 at 11.00am. (Penjats de Formentera, closed group.)

The meeting points will feature informational displays at the island's most famous beaches. Cleaning kits and “Let's do it Formentera” instructions will also be handed out.

To show the world the kinds of actions being taken on Formentera, Plastic Free Formentera and Qué Celeste encourage everyone to photograph their group's cleaning operations with the hashtags #plasticfree, #worldcleanupday and #letsdoitformentera.

Nature group enlists drones in effort to monitor strain on Formentera coast

foto-dron-cala-saonaThe Formentera Council's environment office reports on the most recent raft of actions performed last week by the environmental group GEN-GOB aimed at advancing a broader, on-the-ground effort already under way to promote sustainable management of posidonia seagrass meadows. That project, titled “Posidonia and sustainable marine strategies on Formentera”, is being funded by money raised in the first year of the Save Posidonia Project.

Those involved in the push, which began in July, hope to gauge the strain that anchoring watercraft place on nearby meadows of Posidonia oceanica seagrass and assess the extent of preservation.

Work last week involved using drones to capture photos of all the ships anchored in Formentera's waters.

On Wednesday August 29 two drones flew over a large portion of the island's seaboard in an effort to map and measure the ships stationed there and determine if they were anchored on seagrass meadows.

Two outside firms specialised in drone operations were enlisted in sizing up the areas of the island's coast which receive the most maritime traffic. One operative piloted a drone as it flew over Punta Pedrera, es caló de s’Oli and s’Espalmador, then directed it towards Punta Prima and es Pujols beach. The second pilot used a drone to photograph three areas—Migjorn between Punta de l'Anguila and es Copinar; Tramuntana beach between es Racó de sa Pujada and cala en Baster/es Quintalar; and cala Saona between Punta Rasa and es caló d'en Trull.

The operatives worked from noon till six in the evening, taking into account the particulars of each area, such as the times when ses Illetes tends to receive the greatest number of visitors, or when the number of boats at cala Saona typically levels off.

The waters between ses Illetes and s'Espalmador were home to the greatest number of watercraft.

While it is still too early for a definitive tally, a provisional survey of watercraft anchored in the island's least trafficked area found 90 boats in cala Saona, 10 in Migjorn and 24 between es Caló and es Racó de sa Pujada.

Formentera to host participatory ecology workshop for Natura 2000

foto penyasegat-sa-calaOn Tuesday, September 11, the conference hall of Formentera's dependent care centre will be the scene of a workshop for islanders either affected by or curious about a new strategy in place in certain parts of Formentera, dubbed SPAs, whose prevalence of certain birds entitles them to special protected status.

Management plan
The strategy, or “management plan”, as it is known, regulates the ways people can use SPAs and the measures that will be applied to safeguard protected habitats and species. The plan also covers restorative measures intended to correct the problems currently affecting the spaces, and species, in question.

Natura 2000
Natura 2000 is a network of nature protection areas in Europe whose biodiversity has been identified as particularly important. It covers two kinds of places—those which the EU's Habitats Directive designates as “SCIs” (Sites of Community Importance) and those that the EU's Birds Directive labels “SPAs” (Special Protection Areas) for birds. The goal is to protect habitats and species which are of particular interest to the European community. EU member states are required to pass strategies aimed at converting SCIs into “SACs” (Special Area of Conservation), the final step in their incorporation into Natura 2000. The management plans define how inhabitants of the places in question must interact with the natural spaces in need of protection, so the broader the buy-in surrounding the mechanisms ultimately chosen, the better. That's where the workshops come in.

Executed by GEN-GOB, the workshop also happens thanks to collaboration from the Balearic Islands regional government. The Formentera Council, too, is chipping in with funding from the Save Posidonia Project. The goal of the workshop, apart from engaging a multiplicity of stakeholders in the effort to convert SCIs into SACs, is to foster dialogue about the complexities facing Natura 2000 strategy building.

The workshop will take place as follows:

• 11.00am - Opening remarks and plenary assembly.
• 11.15am - Exploring objectives behind the strategy.
• 12.15pm - Taking stock of measures included in the strategy.
• 2.00pm - Lunch.
• 2.45pm - Conclusions and final plenary assembly.
• 5.00pm - Closing remarks.

The workshop is open to everyone. Registration is, however, mandatory.
For more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

At the close of the workshop, GEN-GOB will send participants a report including a summary of material covered and the day's takeaways.

Subsequently, and prior to adoption of the management plans, the regional government will present a draft of Formentera's plan for public review. Comments relating to the proposed plan will be accepted during an ensuing review period.

Training sights on mosquitos, Formentera ramps up pest control at ses Salines preserve and other local spots

foto moscardThe Formentera Council's environment office says rains this August are behind the decision to extend pest-control operations targeting mosquitos and insects in the Chironomidae family. The expanded measures—application goes from twice to four times weekly—is part of an effort to keep the pests in check across ses Salines' high-moisture areas.

The approach is being replicated in other locations on the island where pools of stagnant water have been identified. The sites include one at carrer Guillem de Montgrí, a street in Sant Ferran; another halfway between the dependent care centre and football pitch; and a large puddle at kilometre marker 8.9 of the main highway.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera pointed to a series of household measures—“watch out for puddles and keep chlorine levels where they need to be in swimming pools and sinks”—as useful to preventing a surge in mosquito numbers. She recommended fitting wells and cisterns with mosquito nets, and said animal water should be changed every two to three days.

The pest-control effort at Estany Pudent, Estany des Peix and the can Marroig salterns began this year in April and will continue to late October. As in the past, the effort focuses on areas of with high concentrations of fresh water, prime targets of the insect pests.

The anti-mosquito, anti-chironomid measures are preventive, targeting larva using a biological treatment called Bacillus thuringiensis Israeliensis, which acts on larva directly and prevents them from reaching adult age.

This year's biological control effort is expected to cost €32,075.45.

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