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Environment

Formentera proves recycling pays

foto projecte envasosAt midday today, the former plenary hall of the Formentera Council played host to the launch of an initiative, Be Blue, that encourages islanders to toss their used cans and plastic bottles into any one of five stations on the island in exchange for points towards prizes.

The presentation was overseen by the Council's environment secretary and a spokesperson for the Be Blue project, Daisee Aguilera and Maria Vecino, as well as a number of the project's design, production and assembly specialists.

In Aguilera's words, Be Blue is about “showing islanders that litter is worth something”. “Keeping materials like paper, glass and plastics out of the bin means reducing the amount of material in the landfill”, said the secretary, “which in turn means slashing the bill footed later by the whole island”.

Maria Vecino described the impetus behind the initiative as twofold: incentivising recycling among Formentera's visitors and residents, and “getting commitment from Be Blue's participating businesses that they will match total points with a donation to Save Posidonia Project”.

Recycling stations

Islanders can recycle for points at the following locations:

• Carrer Sant Jaume, 28, on the school-side pavement (Sant Ferran).
• La Mola highway at km 6.2, opposite Ophiusa supermarket (Sant Ferran).
• Avinguda Vuit d’Agost, 90, opposite IES Marc Ferrer (Sant Francesc)
• Avinguda Miramar, 49, opposite the tourist information point (Es Pujols)
• Avinguda 8 d’Agost, 10, Sa Senieta car park (Sant Francesc)

How the system works

All five machines work in the same way and will only accept cans or plastic bottles. Users must insert objects one at a time and, when finished, press a green button to obtain a ticket indicating their points earned. Each recyclable can or plastic bottle is equal to one eco-punt.

Recyclers can cash in points for prizes, included in a catalogue available at www.formenterabeblue.com. Points can be redeemed at Sant Francesc and La Savina's offices of tourism, the department of environment (conselleria de Medi Ambient) in Sant Ferran, and at Vell Marí in La Savina.

Formentera seeks to delegate 'core' of waste treatment plant buildout

planta-de-residusThe Formentera Council's environment bureau reports the administration has tapped Geprocon to execute the €9,900-plus-tax “core project” in the run-up to creation of a treatment plant for construction and demolition materials.

The contract covers not only preparation of administrative permit requests but also help during tender of the project. The deadline to submit draft proposals for the “core project” has been set at two months. The plant's creation is laid down in Formentera's “sectorial waste directive”, which obtained preliminary approval July 27.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera said the new facilities could turn building scraps into aggregate to be cycled back into construction, as filler for foundations, for instance, or for road improvements.

Formentera retakes Estany des Peix

foto estany des peix 2Formentera Council chief Jaume Ferrer was joined by his administration's environment secretary, Daisee Aguilera; two deputy chairs, Susana Labrador and Bartomeu Escandell; and Compromís party spokesman Omar Juan in unveiling the broad terms of a project to regulate use of Estany des Peix.

Ferrer said the announcement came after “a great deal of reaching across the aisle between our senior cabinet team and other parties”. According to the Council chairman, the consensus between the local administration and the two agencies responsible for managing the lake (the ministry of environment of the Balearics and the national coastal authority) was linked to similar non-partisan cooperation.

Regulating use of Estany des Peix

Improper use of the estany, or "lake", has driven significant degradation of the surrounding area. The sole government agencies with jurisdiction at Estany des Peix are the Balearic environment ministry and Madrid's Demarcación de Costas.

Given the lake's importance both from an ecological standpoint and for the local community, the Formentera Council has put together a proposal to make it easier for the responsible authorities to do their job. Warm reception has so far made possible the proposal's advance through the approval process.

Architects of the proposal hope to strike a balance between two overarching aims: one, securing the area's healthy environmental regeneration, and two, preserving the lake's time-honoured use as a docking point for small watercraft.

The action areas of the proposal were worked out between the administration's component party representatives. The proposed project would benefit from the so-called “Sustainable Tourism Levy” and its engineers bank on getting the responsible authorities' go-ahead in order to implement and administer the new system here locally.

The project

Requiring €540,000 to get off the ground, the project would mean 285 moorage spots in all—207 in the traditional style and 78 which would take the form of environmentally-friendly jetties. Anchoring will be prohibited along parts of the shoreline with designated protected habitats. The removal of mooring blocks from the bottom of the lake is planned as well.

Regulated use of Estany des Peix is part of the collaborative effort, ahead of completion of the island's nautical club, to win approval for a dock in La Savina port. With numerous mooring spots planned, that dock would be the first step towards the return of local sailing activity to the port. Efforts are also under way to equip the port with a dry stack marina to allow for multi-watercraft storage.

Formentera to host info session on pine processionary

Foto lluita processionaria premsaAt 7.30pm on Wednesday September 26, the Formentera Council's Sala d'Actes will host a gathering dedicated to educating professionals, homeowners and any other interested parties about the pest known as the pine processionary.

Head of Balearic healthy forests service Sandra Closa will use the meeting to outline the push planned for the coming month by the Formentera Council and the Govern balear.

Observers first discovered the pine processionary locally in 2007; operations to stem the pest's spread were put in place shortly thereafter.

In hopes of controlling the plague, the two administrations have opted for a new round of controls, including expanding aerial spraying of the natural pesticide.

Aerial treatment
Pine tree groves are dusted with the help of a DGPS-equipped helicopter which offers full control of how much pesticide is applied and to how wide an area. Operators use Bacillus thuringiensis, a natural “phytosanitary” product (or simply a “pesticide”) that is commonly found in nature on the ground and on plants. It can remain on plant leaves for multiple days and degrades naturally with exposure to UV rays. Bacillus thuringiensis does not harm bees and is also effective for treatment of other pests like mosquitos.

From next month a number of points on the island experiencing surging pine processionary numbers will be treated. Meteorological conditions (temperature, wind, relative humidity and rainfall) as well as the particular developmental stage of the larvae will affect when treatment is applied.

Other strategies
Another line of treatment still in place targets the nests the pest makes in winter to keep warm. Manual and mechanical forms of nest removal have been deployed as part of joint campaigns by the Balearic environment ministry (Ibanat, the ministry's nature institute, provides its own eco agents) and the Formentera Council.

An additional natural control measure involves installing sanctuaries for bats, which prey on the caterpillar in moth form.

Both Council and Govern have published brochures, currently available at several points across the island, with complete information about the pine processionary.

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.

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