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After minor oil spill, clean-up of Estany des Peix begins

Foto neteja oliAt 8.55am this morning, a local resident telephoned the offices of the Formentera Council to report an oil slick on Estany des Peix. Two personnel of the CiF Office of Environment visited the pond and, confirming the presence of a minor spill, dialled 112, an agency of the Govern's department of emergency services, whereupon the bureau's plan for oil spills, the Cambal plan, was activated.

In the morning the Guardia Civil made passes over the area in the brigade's helicopter to make sure no new oil infused the water. The head of ses Salines preserve visited the scene to assess the situation as the Council employees used a boat from the administration's fleet to assist coastal authority officers search for the source of the spill, still undetermined at the time of writing.

A TRAGSA crew brought in by the coastal authority was tasked with commencing cleanup operations in the area. The team will begin by mapping out the affected portion of the lake. Soiled sand will be cleaned mechanically and any affected rocks will be treated with sawdust or absorbent blankets.

Formentera on board with Earth Hour

Jake abbott higuera nuitte cel nocturnThe Formentera Council has renewed its commitment to the planet with Earth Hour 2017, a call to cut the lights tomorrow, March 25. From 8.30 to 9.30pm, electric lighting across plaça de la Constitució and carrers Eivissa and Ramón Llull will be switched off.

Appealing for broad public participation, environment councillor Daisee Aguilera called the worldwide lights-out event “a symbolic act against climate change”. For ten years World Wide Fund for Nature has helmed the Earth Hour movement. “The Formentera Council felt strongly about joining the effort,” said the councillor, “and opted to turn out the lights at some of Sant Francesc's main roads”.

Crews haul littered waste from es Brolls arterial

Neteja cami des brollsLoads of dumped construction materials and metal parts have been cleared from camí des Brolls and nearby land, according to the environment office of the Formentera Council. Crews removed 120 cubic metres of building supplies and four of scrap metal. The effort, said environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, was part of a plenary accord.

Aguilera expressed her hope that no future dumping occur on the newly reclaimed land, an area of significant environmental interest. The councillor encouraged people to dispose of unwanted items at the island's rubbish collection point (“deixalleria”) or the waste treatment plant in es Cap de Barbaria.

The initiative, ok'd by ses Salines park and the coastal authority, included use of a lorry specially-equipped to reduce its impact on the surrounding area.

Formentera waterworks rolls out smart metres in Sant Ferran

Presentacio aqualiaEarlier today environment councillor Daisee Aguilera took part in a Sant Ferran presentation of a pilot programme to track water use remotely. With Eduardo del Castillo, head of the Balearic arm of Aqualia, and Luis López, the company's regional production chief, the demo got under way at 11.30am in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council's central office.

The smart tracking system of real-time, daily controls eliminates the need for manual checks of the metres, thus allowing remote, automatic readings to be sent directly, every eight seconds, to a central processing unit at Aqualia. Data on consumption travels back to the unit for processing and cost calcuation by a management programme.

A plus for users
The new system carries many consumer advantages, first the elimination of house calls and, by extension, the need to estimate readings. Detection of internal leaks can provide early indicators to possible equipment failures and help avoid ballooning bills. By highlighting irregular metre activity and delivering hourly breakdowns on water use, the previously unavailable technology enables technicians to pin down leaks owing to breakage or fraud.

Mr del Castillo said the enhanced efficiency of real-time tracking would translate into increased sustainability and greener consumption habits, not to mention a safer, more secure management of the water supply—“particularly important here on Formentera,” he added.

Mr López cited 393,600 remote readings of 205 metres in the first three months since the programme was launched. In 2016, the total number of manual readings in all of Formentera was 11,200.

As for the system's ability to detect leaks, López pointed to five cases already spotted in Sant Ferran this year. The average loss of each, said the Aqualia spokesman, was 17 litres (l) per hour, “the equivalent of 12,240l per month and 146,880l annually”. The town's remote tracking system, which produces readings of various manufacturer models and allows for operation across a local interface, also cuts out the need to periodically renew third-party licence agreements.

Aguilera, for her part, assured there would be no direct impact on water rates and pledged that fuller data on the supply grid would make for better return on Formentera's investment.

In the councillor's words, “this innovative system hands municipal waterworks detailed, objective input on water use in the area that will be instrumental to defining future infrastructure investment. Privy to irregularities like spikes in use or malfunctioning equipment, consumers will have the tools to avoid wasting water”.

Using the Smart Aqua app, Sant Ferran residents will soon be able to see their water use broken down by the hour, even tracking consumption remotely.

Formentera presents plan to improve waste collection

biotrituradora restes podaYesterday's meeting of Formentera's guild of associations, convened to discuss issues related to the environment, included the unveiling of a draft plan for local waste management. Representatives from 11 island groups were there to pick up their copies of the document, which they will review and possibly amend in the coming days.

According to CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, the aim of the document, which was prepared by green consultants Geprecon, is both to “define the model Formentera uses for waste management” and “align it with European and national standards like cutting down on landfill use for biodegradable items and stepping up recycling”. The ultimate goal, in the words of the councillor, is to increase Formentera's sustainability.

The document calls for two treatment plants—one for “building and demolition materials, where construction firms and the Council will be allowed to reuse materials” and another “for organic compost,” envisioned as a fertiliser source for Formentera fields.

Under the plan, organic compost would first be collected directly from big producers like restaurants and hotels. By the second year, a dedicated treatment plant—and street-side collection bins—would allow for an expanded service, available to the general public.

Improvements and savings
Current figures put Formentera's recycling at three times the national average, though measures included in the document would take those trends even further. One suggestion at yesterday's gathering, said Aguilera, was to extend the push to do away with plastic bags: “Formentera was among the first to take aim at plastic bags at checkout areas. Now we're ready to do more.”

Councillor Aguilera expressed her hopes that the plan, which could be adopted before year-end, has the support of the people of Formentera. “At the end of the day,” she explained, “they've got the final say when it comes to improving our rubbish disposal practices”.

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