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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.

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.

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.

Nature group pushes ahead with efforts on ground to protect Formentera seaboard

foto compilant dadesThe Formentera Council's environment department reports that this week, a coalition of environmental advocates and bird-watching enthusiasts called GEN-GOB (Grup d'Estudis de la Natura / Grup Balear d'Ornitologia) has completed the second part of an on-the-ground initiative which received funding from last year's Save Posidonia Project.

Beginning in July and dubbed “Posidonia and sustainable marine strategies for Formentera”, the operation is aimed at quantifying the pressure that anchoring ships place on the meadows of Posidonia oceanica seagrass located along Formentera's coast. Operatives also intend to study the success of conservation efforts under way.

To get there, members of the operation have travelled by boat to locate watercraft anchored on sand, rock, posidonia meadows and another seagrass, Cympodocea nodosa. The tracking operations used a system known as AIS (Automatic Identification System) which enables boats to broadcast their coordinates and other relevant information. Divers were dispatched in an effort to assess the state of posidonia meadows.

Preliminary findings
Some four hundred ships anchored on Formentera's coastline were counted in August. Dives took place at ses Illetes, Llevant, es Racó de sa Pujada and Migjorn.

Based on analysis of the data gathered, observers have noted that fewer ships are stationed along the coast than in the past. Previous years saw as many as 760 boats dotting the coastline. Ses Illetes and Cala Saona are historically areas where strain on the seaboard is greatest.

Likewise, drops have been registered in the number of boats anchoring on posidonia thanks to motorboat patrols and more informed seafarers.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera, who welcomed the decline in boats dropping anchor on the seagrass, encouraged continued participation in Save Posidonia Project. “This year will be the project's second”, said Aguilera, “and we need everyone to get involved if we're going to push ahead with research and outreach to preserve this undersea treasure”. She pointed out that anyone interested could still adopt square metres of the seagrass at the www.saveposidoniaproject.org website.

Phase three of the GEN-GOB project is set to take place in September.

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