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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 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.

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 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.

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