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New waste management contract leads with organics, frequent pickups and brand-new bins and equipment

The Formentera Department of Environment reports that this Friday, local cabinet councillors will present for approval in the February plenary assembly a procurement contract for waste collection and transport, clean roads and beaches, green spaces conservation and maintenance and management of the island’s waste treatment plant. The eight-year contract comes with the option of a two-year extension and is valued at €31.5 million, with FDE chair Antonio J Sanz drawing attention to terms like an upgraded vehicle fleet, enhanced organics collection, new bins and more frequent pickup.

More organics, more bins
The contract covers standard waste, paper/cardboard, plastics and glass collection; door-to-door commercial pickup for “major waste generators”; door-to-door organics pickup for “mid-range” and major waste generators; door-to-door collection on pedestrian streets in Es Pujols and —absent from past contracts— kerbside organics bins as soon as two years after the contract’s entry in force. Councillor Sanz called it “the latest step in line with 2019 legislation on waste and polluted soils requiring 50% of all discarded material be recyclable”.

The incoming service provider will also be on the hook for upgrades of the island’s underground containers and their inside-and-out cleaning, not to mention new dustbins street side.

Pickup frequency, new equipment and e-vehicles
In addition to an upgraded fleet of vehicles including electric vehicles in the light fleet, the new terms envision enhanced material and human resources for more frequent service factoring for considerations like seasonal demand. Councillor Sanz said improvements ranging from increased collections to staff and e-vehicle additions sought to enable a more appropriate response to local demand.

Landscaping and road clearing will also be provided for, services Sanz said would require “more extensive material and human resources”, plus manual and machine-assisted beach cleaning and waterfront rubbish and recycling bins.

Path forward
The new contract will be put to tender when plenary backing is secured, with service rollout possible as early as year’s end. “Contracts like these can be slow-going and convoluted”, said Sanz, who confided he was nevertheless “hopeful this moves quickly because it’s of vital importance to the island”, describing the island’s former waste management contract as “obsolete” and “conceived for Formentera circa 2005”. He concluded by praising the department staffers who had “made this contract happen”.

24 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Hunters pitch in by taking aim at pine processionary nests

foto 2021 uribe processionariaIn recent days and till month’s end, a Formentera Environment Department push to curb spread of pine processionary pest is getting a boost from hunters who are turning their guns on nests in hard-to-reach pine tree branches. The Consell has over 5,000 ammunition cartridges to be used to this effect.

For more information visit the FED (Àrea de Medi Ambient) at carrer Mallorca, 15 (baixos) in Sant Ferran de ses Roques; call 971 32 12 10 ext.1 or send an email to mediambient@conselldeformentera.cat. Islanders can likewise contact the healthy forests division of the Balearic government on their website, or by phone (971 17 66 66) or email.

16 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Researchers studying sustainable nautical uses of posidonia meadows unveil findings

foto 2021 posidoniaThe Formentera Tourism Department and the Formentera Environment Department report that online audiences got a first look yesterday at a joint effort by GEN-GOB and Soldecocos to explore nautical practices that favour the sustainability of posidonia seagrass — an idea with roots in the Consell de Formentera-backed Save Posidonia Project’s 2017 call for proposals.

FED chief Antonio J. Sanz said continued research in the field was “every bit as key as the ongoing effort to safeguard this crucial part of the local ecosystem”. A total of €112,000 will go to winning SPP submissions in 2021, said Sanz, who drew attention to the 11 proposals already received. “Since launching, SPP has meant protection for 252,000 square metres of seagrass”, he pointed out, asserting, “There’s an increasing amount of awareness around the issue.”

The study’s general aim is to expand government’s reach to the sea — inquiring into how the sea and locally protected sites are managed and used; weighing the toll of moorage; formulating a consensus-based assessment of the ecological health of seagrass meadows; training students and study administrators and stewarding vulnerable undersea habitats located in posidonia meadows.

GEN-GOB’s Xisco Sobrado and Immaculada Martínez, of Soldecocos, led the presentation, which drew from two separate studies: one, a progress report on posidonia conservation and protection so far; the other, a look at the impact of anchoring watercraft on posidonia meadows on the Formentera coast.

General consensus re: posidonia virtues
Ecology, culture, the economy and identity were among the factors that came up most frequently when social and professional stakeholders were queried about posidonia’s importance. Researchers also underscored general consensus around the value of posidonia, and the potentially crucial role of social participation in improving governance and decision-making on the issue.

Five hundred 26-metre ships daily on Formentera shores
The study also mentions recreational watercraft, “a source of considerable pressure on Formentera’s seafloor”. Such vessels are present in spades in summer, particularly August, when moorage points number between 14,000 and 24,000 and five hundred 26-metre ships dot the coast any given day on average. One per cent of these ships are believed to anchor on seagrass, with the most dramatic impact observed on the western shore of Illetes and at Cala Saona. Researchers named motorboats, yachts and sailboats between 6 and 195 metres long (26 metres on average) among the offending craft. The average boat length is 12 metres.

SPP’s other winning proposal, ‘Antroposi’ by Imedea, is a look at the direct effect of human activity on posidonia meadows, Findings are due shortly.

12 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Presenting findings from study on sustainable marine uses of sea grass

The Formentera Environment Department reports that findings from ‘Sustainable marine uses of posidonia on Formentera’ will be unveiled in a Zoom call (https://zoom.us/j/92581086482) this Thursday 11 February at 7.00pm. A GEN-GOB project with support from Soldecocos, the initiative has roots in the Consell-sponsored Save Posidonia Project and purports to share findings of an effort to gauge conservation and protection of Posidonia oceanica and the impact of mooring watercraft on local meadows of the seagrass. All are welcome.

9 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Formentera boasts 26.6% less waste in 2020

foto 2021 ca na putxaThe Formentera Environment Department reports that a 2020 tally of local waste came in at approximately 7,538 metric tonnes (t) — a 26.6% drop relative to the 10,223 t generated one year earlier.

Figures for urban solid waste collection waned as well, falling from 6,236 t in 2019 to 5,057 t in 2020 (-19%). Paper and cardboard collection diminished in kind, going from 959 t to 678 t (-29%), while plastics slipped from 680 t to 551 t (-19%) and glass from 977 t to 658 t (-33%).

Environment chief Antonio J Sanz said the pandemic’s mark on last year’s figures was understandable and “plain to see”, pointing up pronounced dips in paper and glass collection (“both materials are more common to the hospitality industry”, added Sanz, “sadly where most closures and activity level hits have occurred”). “On the bright side, upswings came in plastic, paper and cardboard recycling in the two pre-pandemic months of 2020, meaning islanders are getting better at recycling, particularly when it comes to glass, paper and cardboard, and that we have a clearer sense of good practices in general”.

Collection of food scraps and other organic waste was placed on hold last year for reasons related to public health. “Our local process for treating organic waste is very labour intensive”, Sanz asserted, adding that, given the public health risk the procedure represented, a decision was made to prioritise worker safety. As to whether organic waste collection would resume in 2021 and what such a resumption might look like, Sanz insisted the answer would depend on the unfolding pandemic. Without counting organic collections, overall recycling slipped to 25.04% in 2020 (down from 32.48% a year earlier).

First Zero Waste Municipality
The island’s most recent plenary assembly brought backing for Formentera’s membership in ‘Zero Waste Municipalities’, a certification programme of the European Union in which Formentera is now Spain’s first participating municipality. Eligibility requires staying the course on recycling policies, including the Consell’s pallet reuse initiative, which currently runs a tally of nearly 700 repurposed pallets, and a two-month-old recycled cycles programme which has already secured new homes for nearly one hundred used bicycles. But, Councillor Sanz insists, work is far from over. “Our two-part mission is to cut waste and use our resources more efficiently, and it's one we’ve yet to fully accomplish today”.

4 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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Balears Life Posidonia

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