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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.

Posidonia figure on nautical maps of Formentera

daisee-aguilera--miquel-mir--i1The environment office of the Formentera Council reports that nautical maps put out by the Cádiz-based Instituto Hidrográfico de la Marina and featuring information about the island's neighbouring posidonia meadows are now available for purchase in paper and digital formats.

The measure will enable ship capitans to spot meadows and steer clear of them when anchoring. Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera hailed the news, saying “knowing where the sea grass meadows are is crucial to protecting them” and applauding the collaboration between the Formentera Council, the Govern balear and IHM.

While not the sole factor pertinent to explaining recession of the sea grass, boats dropping anchor on meadows is one the causes. Posidonia is a deciduous underwater plant responsible for the clearness of Formentera's waters, which Aguilera cited when asserting the new maps were “groundbreaking for Formentera and for the Mediterranean as a whole”.

April start
A tool to help highlight the presence of posidonia, the acronym “SG” for “sea grass” has incorporated the nomenclature since April, marking the first time an underwater plant is included on nautical maps. The new term makes it possible to differentiate between the plant and seaweed (unlike the former, the latter has previously figured on similar maps).

For reference in the initiative, IHM used maps from Project Life Posidonia as well as eco-mapping from MAPAMA, which contained information about posidonia meadows across the Balearics.

Formentera takes aim at cockroaches

fumigacio---anti-paneres-cuque1The Formentera Council's environment office reports that anti-roach treatments are currently being deployed in the residential areas of Sant Francesc, ses Bardetes, Sant Ferran, es Caló, la Mola, es Pujols, sa Roqueta and la Savina.

Soaring cockroach populations are one anticipated knock-on effect of searing summer heat, which is why the Council has activated the pest control strategy. The operations are overseen by a company of pest control experts and involve the use of special products in the sewerage network and other sites controlled by the municipal administration.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera called for collaboration from people in the island's urban centres to see to it the measures, which are in addition to the normal debugging operations overseen by the Council, have maximum effect. She urged everyone experiencing cockroach infestations —individual islanders and businesses alike— to treat the problem as soon as possible. Septic tanks deserve particular attention, she said, calling them breeding grounds for the pests and adding that “tanks that are no longer in use should be duly sealed off”.

Islanders should let the environment department know when they plan to mount pest control treatments in residential areas or urban buildings in case additional street-level hygiene measures are required. Pest control measures should be executed at night or early in the morning, when there are few people in the streets.

Contact the environment office by telephone (971 32 12 10) or e-mail (mediambient@conselldeformentera.cat) with any questions.

Two months in, organic waste pickup programme keeps 210 tonnes of waste out of landfills

foto materia organica 1The Formentera Council's environment office reports that from May 15 to today, 210 tonnes of organic waste has been collected as part of a programme in which 146 local establishments participate.

In 2018 the administration expanded the service every corner of the island. In the process, two circuits were created to assure organic rubbish pickup for the island's medium-sized and large waste generators. Adherents to the service benefit from an advisory service which is headed up by an “eco-educator” (informadora ambiental) and three agents are responsible for overseeing patrol operations.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera hailed the current campaign as highly successful and thanked participating businesses for their collaboration. “Organic waste pickup helps us optimise our waste management operations”, said the consellera, “and it adds up to real savings in the money we spend transporting rubbish to Eivissa”.

Separating plastics
Aguilera called to mind a similar push in 2017 that resulted in pickup of 100 tonnes of organic waste that was subsequently mixed with green garden clippings. The roughly eight-month process generated some three hundred cubic metres of high-quality, garden- and agriculture-ready compost.

Two employees from a firm called Apfem-Aktua which works to integrate at-risk members of society have joined the campaign this year. Their job is to sift out non-biodegradable plastic material from the compost which is scattered across fields, a process which maximises the quality of the final product.

Twenty-plus watercraft get boot from Estany des Peix shoreline

foto-edpeix-retirada-31The Formentera Council's environment office reports that six derelict pieces of nautical gear are getting the heave-ho today from the waterline of Estany des Peix. From boats and kayaks to windsurf boards and trailers, this most recent operation puts the current total of objects removed from the lakeside at over twenty.

As the island's environment secretary, Daisee Aguilera, explained: “When it comes to our attention that something  has been left on the shore, we issue a notice and give owners one month to come and get it. If they don't, it's considered rubbish”. So far this summer, agents charged with patrolling the waterline have written eleven citations for cases of dumping.

The patrols enabled objects to be identified as either abandoned or likely to leak potentially dangerous liquids. In some cases, agents found that the left objects blocked peoples' passage through the area.

When the condition a boat or other object is in either makes it a leak hazard or renders its navigation unsafe, the Council can report it to the responsible authorities, in this case Demarcació de Costes, the coastal authority in the Balearics, and ses Salines nature reserve, part of the Govern balear. If the object is still there after one month, it is considered waste, a condition that then enables the Formentera Council to remove it and issue a fine.

The majority of found objects don't possess features by which their owners can be identified and are transported to waste management facilities at es Cap de Barbaria.

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