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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Environment

New generators to reduce noise and emissions at power plant

Visita central electricaToday in the administration's plenary hall, Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and environment councillor Daisee Aguilera met with the Govern Balear's minister of land, energy and transport, Marc Pons, and the regional government's director general of energy, Joan Groizard. The officials then met with Es Ca Marí residents with homes near the power station in that area, and concluded the gathering with a trip to the facilities, where the Endesa company's chair, Ernesto Bonín, spoke about recent improvements at the site.

The CiF president characterised the administration's calls to reduce noise and air pollution at the power plant as “a 17 year long struggle”. He also hailed the recent installation of eight generators capable of supplying 12 megawatts. Between the new equipment and additional electricity provided by two underwater cables that extend from Eivissa to Formentera, it is hoped local energy needs can be met. Last summer saw energy demand hit highs of 20 megawatts.

Among the changes that Bonín highlighted, a single smokestack was constructed and noise-reducing screens were placed around generators. An associated turbine will only be activated in cases of emergency. The Govern's energy minister celebrated what he called “a triple win”: increased electrical potential, reduced noise pollution and less emissions winding up in the atmosphere. He said the changes would make Formentera “a better, more competitive destination spot and one with a better quality of life”.

To President Ferrer, the improvements are still just a first step. He referred to long-term plans to add two underwater supply cables connecting the island to Eivissa as well as an adjacent substation. The generators will be kept running till October 15. After that time, the existing cables are expected to suffice for Formentera's lower, off-season electricity demands.

Council launches info service for Govern's solar power subsidies

The Formentera Council's Office of Environment will launch an information service for residents interested in applying for renewable energy assistance from the Govern Balear. Applications are open to businesses, associations and individuals who wish to receive government money for photovoltaic (solar) energy.

Starting Monday, June 6, the general public can visit or call the CiF's Office of Environment (971321210) for application details.

The Govern Balear has recently announced the availability of two grants. The first, for which the regional government in Palma has earmarked 200,000 euros, is for businesses and business associations that use solar energy for self-supply. The other grant, with similar terms and a 250,000-euro budget, is for individuals and groups of property owners.

Cruise liners dock at distance from posidonia prairies

Foto ocean majestySpeaking earlier today, the councillor of environment of the Formentera Council, Daisee Aguilera, reported that “all the cruise ships that have made stops so far this season in Formentera's waters have done it in an area of the port without posidonia seagrass”. The feat reflects a commitment made by the Council last summer to preserve prairies of the seagrass in the waters of la Savina.

Aguilera said she was glad that “this summer we'll be able to balance tourist cruise liners with protection of the heritage plant, posidonia,” something the councillor called “a priority issue for the Council”. She also thanked entities like the Balearic port authority and the maritime authority, who made it possible for cruise ships to anchor away from the port zone proper, and ship operators for their participation. The Star flyer made a stop in Formentera May 4 and the Ocean Majesty on May 21. Most recently, the Artania pulled into port yesterday.

In all three cases, the Council contacted the port and maritime authorities, Autoritat Portuària de Balears and Capitania Marítima, to suggest alternatives to the ships dropping anchor on the posidonia-covered floor of la Savina port zone two. According to Aguilera, the Council proposed anchorage a mile northwest of the port, in a sandy area that is 40 metres deep, to avoid damage to prairies of Formentera's signature seagrass. The APB has reported that, for the time being, no more cruise ships are scheduled to dock at the island this summer.

Can Ramon added to Formentera Council's catalogue of heritage sites

Foto ple maigThe Formentera Council convened its May plenary session today, an event that was marked by the adoption of a proposal concerning Can Ramon, a home and heritage site in Sant Francesc. The unanimously-adopted proposal calls for the detailed reparcelling study and ultimate restoration of the property, which, as CiF land councillor Alejandra Ferrer explained, will house Formentera's future ethnological interpretation centre.

The go-ahead was also given to a measure to back the international bid to put dry stone on UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage Assets. Further to that end, plenary members voted as one to support a proposal to begin proceedings declaring the traditional technique of dry stone wall-building an Intangible Cultural Heritage Asset. According to Susana Labrador, chair of the Council's Office of Patrimony, the goal is “ensure the protection of this craft, an important part of our island's intangible heritage.”

Plenary members additionally greenlighted a proposal install a new stage in the Council's cultural hall, a site known popularly as la Sala de Cultura that also houses the island's cinema. Lastly, plenary participants voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance laying out guidelines of use at the Formentera cemetery.

Report from Office of Environment
Finally, Daisee Aguilera, the CiF's councillor of environment, highlighted biodiversity preservation projects from within her department that aim to protect island assets like posidonia sea grass, white pines and lizards. In addition, the councillor pointed to what she called “even grander efforts” to scuttle oil exploration projects in nearby waters and promote climate change-tackling renewable energies.

Aguilera also touted her office's administration of basic services like solid waste treatment in urban areas and oversight of water and electricity supplies. She underscored the importance of “continuing to educate and raise awareness among young and old alike” in terms of “how best to defend the green values that define our marvelous corner of paradise.” Aguilera took the opportunity to take stock of all of the current CiF Office of Environment projects devised to “ensure Formentera loses nothing of what makes it so special and unique”.

Talking good disposal habits: environment canvasser to raise awareness among business owners and residents

Foto RP Campanya gestio residusThe Formentera Council has announced details behind its summer push for good rubbish disposal habits. Under the tagline “The island's image is in everyone's hands”, the campaign was described today in press conference by CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera and a clutch of other stakeholders on the campaign, including the person tasked with leading street-level outreach, Begoña Jiménez. Joining Aguilera  and Jiménez were two representatives from Ferrovial Servicios, the concession-holding company for waste collection in the Balearics. Eduardo Azcona, head of the company's Balearic division, and Silvia Carcelero, head of services on Formentera, sat alongside Podarcis president Dani Ramón, whose company is charged with designing the campaign.

The upshot of the campaign, says Councillor Aguilera, is about “connecting with locals and raising awareness”. With that in mind, the Council has hired an outreach ambassador on a six-month contract to go door-to-door talking to Formentera business owners about good rubbish disposal practises. She will also assure a presence near street-side bins. There, her duties will include explaining rules and new procedures to residents and sussing out possible service shortfalls. The Council and Ferrovial will use the information to improve collection and determine necessary courses of action, which could range from increased monitoring and fining to service changes.

Clean-up day
One of the first efforts associated with the 2016 campaign will be an undersea clean-up push on the morning of Saturday May 21. The initiative has received the support of dive centres and underwater activity companies alike. Participants, Aguilera explained, will join forces in day-long cleaning efforts at Punta Pedrera, Es Caló de s'Oli and Espalmador, in an effort to “get our seabed as clean as possible for the start of summer”. Clean-up crews will meet at 9.00am in front of the Formentera Mar tower in la Savina. Anyone interested in volunteering should call 971321210 or send an email to infoambiental@conselldeformentera.cat.

The environment office has also published a brochure, posters and decals with tips about which rubbish goes where. The CiF canvasser will hand out the material at strategic points on the island, like sites where illegal dumping infractions have spiked. The newly modified municipal anti-dumping ordinance imposes three scales of fines, €150-€900, €900-€45,000 and €45,000-€1,750,000, depending on whether the violation is deemed minor, serious or very serious.

The brochure also features a QR code which allows residents to complete a survey about local waste collection and make suggestions regarding service improvements. Last year, more than eight thousand tonnes of rubbish —consisting of 24 per cent recyclable material— was collected on the island. Launched today, “The island's image is in everyone's hands” is aimed at pushing Formentera recycling rates even higher.

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