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Formentera plays host to first gathering of commission on water this legislative term

foto-juntaaiguesjpThe environment and rural offices of the Consell de Formentera report that this afternoon, following a call from the Balearic government, members of the Island Waters Junta (Junta Insular d'Aigües) met for their first gathering of the legislative term.

Regional environment and territory minister, Miquel Mir, and the director-general of water resources, Joana Garau, chaired the meeting, which also saw the attendance of local environment and rural councillors Antonio J Sanz and Josep Marí as well as representatives from environmental groups, farmers and users of local irrigation and urban water grids.

Garau gave attendees an overview of the first part of a modified Balearic Water Plan (PHIB) for 2021-2027. Minister Garau pointed out that the document is currently available for public viewing, and encouraged administrations, industry actors and regular islanders to review it.

“Responsibility here cuts across the different administrations that are involved” said Garau, “and we can’t just be talking about the quantity of dessalinated water on each island —and Formentera’s no isolated case— but whether we can be storing it to satisfy local water needs throughout the year”.

For his part, Conseller Sanz said he hoped the gathering would facilitate discussion around “issues at both the dessalination plant and irrigation pond, so our two sister administrations can get to work finding solutions”.

4 December 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

In summer 2019, Formentera upped glass recycling by 23%

ecovidriovj1The environment department of the Consell de Formentera reports that this summer, with the help of Ecovidrio's Moviment Banderes Verdes (“Green Flags Movement"), drop-offs of glass recyclables marked a 23% increase, putting total green-bin collections at 582 tonnes. The figures put Formentera third in the Balearics for glass recycling, and reflect the efforts of the 124 local businesses which took part in the measure. Green collection bins were delivered to participating establishments—some had never participated in glass recycling before; others, seasoned recyclers, saw their container swapped for a newer model. Smaller, specially-designed recycling bins were distributed to hotels.

According to Ecovidrio, the glass-recycling efforts of islanders were equivalent to keeping 337 tonnes of CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere—or 158 cars parked for a year. Or, by another metric, the 415MW-per-hour in energy savings might be translated as keeping 698 tonnes of raw materials in the ground. Environment conseller Antonio J Sanz trumpeted the figures, pointing out “it's as if the hospital cut its yearly energy consumption in half". “This kind of recognition is important", quipped Sanz, who said the numbers were in line with other increases —of 33%— in overall recycling.

Balearic Green Flags Movement
In the Balearics, drop-off rates at green containers are up 11.7% since last year. All told, 11,020 tonnes of glass were collected across the 22 coastal towns that took part in the initiative, putting the reduction of CO2 emissions at 6,391 tonnes.

30 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Organic waste collection up 29.98% since last year

residus-orga--nicsv2Formentera’s environment office reports that the amount of organic waste collected in 2019 marks an 29.98% increase on the same figure in 2018. A total of 704.17 tonnes were picked up over the five months from 15 May to 15 October, compared to 541.77 tonnes the previous year.

Organic waste collection among restaurants and other local businesses began with a 2017 trial run that netted 100 tonnes. This year the network of establishments benefitting from door-to-door pick-up has grown to 170. Participants even have at their disposition an environmental advisory agent, or zelador, from the Consell’s environment office.

Environment councillor Antonio J Sanz hailed the news and thanked participating businesses “for everything they’ve brought to the table”.

Councillor Sanz pointed out that, in 2019, between the figures for collected organic waste and recyclables such glass, plastics, paper and cardboard, the Consell de Formentera “is getting closer to our goal of recycling half of all the island’s waste that was outlined in legislation passed in August 2019 on hazardous materials and soils”. Recyclables currently account for 33.78% of total waste collection, a four-point increase since a year ago.

The figures from the environment department show that, including September, solid waste collection in urban parts of the island was at 5,617.42 tonnes; paper and cardboard collection reached 805,07 tonnes; plastics 561.94, glass 661.88 and organic waste 661.88. Collection rates were highest in August (1,637 tonnes), followed by July (1,528) and June (1,271.76). The low came in January, when total collection dropped to 363.82.

21 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

This Monday 7 October, info session on the pine processionary on Formentera

cartell-procesionaria-2019-cop1The Consell de Formentera environment office reports that islanders are encouraged to attend an information session about the pine processionary on Formentera. Scheduled for Monday 7 October at 7.00pm in the Sala d’Actes, the gathering will be led by María Isidora Santiago, head of the healthy forests service of the natural spaces and biodiversity arm of the Balearic government.

The educational event is one part of the response to climbing pine processionary numbers on the island; another—currently due to start this October—includes a two-part aerial dusting of 1,500 hectares of local land, pending proper weather conditions and the caterpillars’ particular stage of development.

4 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera 

With third Fòrum Posidonia Project, Formentera stays on path to sustainability

foto-presentacio---spp1Consell de Formentera president and tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer, environment councillor Antonio J Sanz, and tourism promotions chief Carlos Bernús gathered in the government’s Sala d’Actes to unveil the slate of programming to accompany Save Posidonia Project in 2019. In Ferrer’s words, the three-day event, which kicks off 10 October, was conceived as a way to “turn the island into a place where ideas are exchanged—and that’s recognised as an eco-friendly destination, leading the charge towards sustainability”.

Ferrer pointed out that Save Posidonia Project launched in 2017—Year of Sustainable Tourism—and that its two founding pillars haven’t changed: “educating people about the importance of protecting posidonia and our surroundings, and raising money through square-metre sponsorship to fund conservation”.

The president hailed the generosity of islanders and businesses in 2017, when 132,656 square metres of seagrass meadows were “adopted” and funding was raised for two protection-tuned projects: one with the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies (Imedea) and another with the Nature Study Group and Balearic Ornithology Group (GEN-GOB). To date, €222,319 has been raised under the initiative.

The project continues this year, first with celebrations around the 20-year anniversary of nearby Posidonia oceanica meadows’ classing as a Unesco World Heritage Site, and culminating on 11 October with the III Fòrum Posidonia Project. Plus, new this year, panel discussions with the local business community have been organised with the help of a range of organisations and NGOs.

New call for projects

Councillor Sanz offered that conservation projects would remain the focus of fundraising. This year is the forum's third, although it's only the second year that organisers have solicited project proposals. Funding from adopted square metres of posidonia currently stands at roughly ninety thousand—“a figure we hope will increase after the Fòrum”, said Sanz.

“Hopefully, with this new call for projects will translate into real protections for posidonia, and for the environment in general”, the councillor said. He pointed out that proposals in the first edition focused on direct change, but said attendees could expect to see indirect change—think individuals’ day-to-day carbon footprint—come up at this year’s gathering.

Some fifty journalists from six different countries will be covering the event, which chief of tourism promotions Carlos Bernús cast as about “making sustainability a pillar of our appeal to visitors”. The Fòrum runs parallel to other Discover Formentera events, which will appear chronicled in the outlets of visiting Spanish and international journalists—“who will see that now’s a good time to visit the island”.

Fòrum Save Posidonia

Thursday 10 October:
Work tables will be held with staff from the local and regional governments, Formentera businesses, civil society and NGOs, to explore areas like water, waste, plastics, land and maritime mobility, the energy transition and posidonia. The debate and reflections that emanating from the first day will serve to articulate an overview of new challenges and a commitment to make improvements moving forwards.

Friday 11 October:
The second day of programming is open to the public, and attendees will get a look at their companions’ efforts from the day before, not to mention a refresher of some of the projects which received funding in 2017. There will also be talks, documentary screenings and round-table discussions. The Fòrum on this day will take place at plaça de la Constitució

The programme can be found online at www.saveposidoniaproject.org/forum-posidonia-2019/.

Saturday 12 October:
The final day will include a boat ride to visit posidonia meadows and children’s workshops. Activities will unfold in the centre of Sant Francesc.

2 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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