Tag Archives: Sustainability

Maria Tudurí Sintes, winner of the Pere Prats Prize for the Environment

Maria Tudurí Sintes has been designated, unanimously by the jury, the winner of the 2023 Pere Prats Prize for the Environment.

The jury considered that Maria Tudurí has all the qualities that deserve the award of the 2023 Pere Prats Prize for the Environment, based on her career, for being a woman of initiative, and an entrepreneur with drive that has known how to develop in a traditionally male world. Continue reading Maria Tudurí Sintes, winner of the Pere Prats Prize for the Environment

Sant Lluis weed killing

A few days after the weed killing along the roadsides of urbanizations on the Sant Lluis coast, the effects of the product used are evident where dry and blackened grass has been left. It confirms that a herbicide product was used from Cap d’en Font to Binibèquer Nou .

GOB estimates that they have sprayed weed killer along some 7 kms of sidewalks adjacent to houses. The treatment has not gone as far as the eastern area from Cala Torret, where the contrast with the island greenery at this time of year that still exists can be seen. (See attached photos.) Continue reading Sant Lluis weed killing

Desalination plants: the excuse for suicidal growth

For months now, we have seen in the press, repeated articles on desalination plants. They are always presented as giving water to the population, but the information hides some points that should be kept in mind.

Desalination is much more expensive

Since the work on the desalination plant for Ciutadella was delivered, the Balearic Government promised to pay the equivalent of 8,000 euros per day for the 15 years of construction. More than 43 million euros. This is being paid by the citizens although blurred by other costs. Continue reading Desalination plants: the excuse for suicidal growth

Illegal swimming pools in Menorca and closure order in France

It is now known that the developers of certain illegal swimming pools in Menorca are also having a major conflict in France, in the Provence Region, where the city council is preparing a closure order of an establishment in the chain.

The same developers that are managing Sant Ponça and Torre Vella in Menorca (under the Group name, Domaine de Fontenille) have opened recently a new luxury hotel in Sain-Remy-de-Provence that is generating a lot of controversy in the area, which is being spread via major media outlets.

In agricultural areas of this region, it is only possible to process tourist accommodations, called guesthouses, of five bedrooms. The problem is that the hotel in question would have been inaugurated with 19 bedrooms and a restaurant without a licence or municipal authorisation. The different administrations have made negative reports that will probably result with a closure order. In fact, some major booking platforms no longer operate with the hotel.

The new establishment, called Domaine de Chalamon, is located in an area that, like Menorca, opted for strict urban planning, in order to avoid unwanted development. The authorities do not want to allow precedents that would encourage future disastrous planning.

The authorities have shown greater courage than in Menorca

Seeing the publicity that announced the details of the building (19 bedrooms, swimming pool, restaurant…) did not coincide with the characteristics of a guesthouse, the different administrations coordinated and visited the establishment and issued negative reports. A closure order seems imminent if it has not already occurred.

It should be remembered that in 2019 GOB denounced the presence of swimming pools that should be troughs for saving water in the agro tourism of Torre Vella as well as other irregularities. As a result, in 2021 the Consortium of Urban Discipline opened a file with the proposal of a sanction for about one and half million euros (486,000 for each one of those responsible – the developer, the architect and the builder.)

A little while afterwards, the Environmental Commission also raised reports of environmental breaches and proceedings have been initiated with the Island Governing Council, as the body that must enforce environmental issues.

The developers allocated all the existing buildings for tourist use and then asked to build new ones to maintain the farming activity, then petitioned for legalising water troughs made into swimming pools. The Alaior Town Council did not allow GOB to see the documentation and this obstruction has been reported to the Council for Transparency and Good Governance that is processing the file.

A case that creates comparative grievance between the Menorcans

Torre Vella continues, in the summer of 2023, promoting the bedrooms with the illegal swimming pools. It seems that no administration decides anything and meanwhile, the promoters do business when their facilities are illegal.

To allow this impunity transmits an inequality in the application of the rules (many illegal works on the Island have ended in demolition as established by law) and generates a sensation of favourable treatment by the Menorcan authorities.

What a difference from the reaction of the French authorities. There, despite the French millionaires mentioned putting forward their usual arguments of giving jobs and restoring the archaeological heritage, the public institutions have replied that the rules are equal for all as was known by the developers from the first day that they were interviewed.

Look at the following images:




GOB coordinates its different island sections

Organised civil society, that works to achieve collective interests, is now more necessary than ever in our archipelago: to work on environmental, social and economic aspects. During the weekend of 17 June GOB brought together its Balearic Islands sections and analysed the new political context.

The problem of tourist overcrowding would increase if the messages spread by the political parties forecast to form new government teams were applied. This route is considered wrong with loss of residents’ quality of life, with great pressure on natural values and a loss of positive economic results.

The impossibility of a large part of the resident population to visit certain beaches during the tourist season, the enormous difficulty to find parking in areas taken over by tourist vehicles, the price of housing that, in many cases, prevents exercising a constitutional right, are some of the social effects of the growing and unidirectional commitment towards mass tourism.

In economic terms, tourist overcrowding goes against per capita income as picked up by economic publications. In 1983, the province of the Balearic Islands was second in the state ranking. At that time, 4.3 million tourists visited the islands. In 2022, the Balearics appeared in 22nd place for state ranking, having received 16.5 million tourists.

It is clear that overcrowding does not contribute to the welfare of society, but only to certain activities that are extracted in economic terms, that is, extracting profits generated by the island and taken to other places.

This excess pressure shows repeated planning errors. Ibiza has three desalination plants and the aquifers are overexploited. Mallorca has been widening roads and new road infrastructures continue to be announced. In Menorca the sensation of saturation is growing and undeclared tourist accommodation takes up homes that should be for residents.

Faced with these growing problems, GOB has agreed for the society to work to promote control measures that will help social welfare and environmental recovery.

There are tools for these measures that can be used such as establishing a limit on the vehicles of each island, which has been successfully tested in Formentera; such as regulating the abusive extractions of water; such as management of the nautical offer without degrading natural values nor the quality of the experience of those using it; such as putting a brake on the promotion of summer tourism; such as the correct management of protected areas for conserving and recovering natural values.

Society is usually ahead of institutions in vision and commitment for the future. The islands need to organise themselves to find ways that balance conservation with non-speculative progress.

Positive Tourism (8) – Posidonia on the beaches

This is the latest announcement as part of the campaign for Positive Tourism that we have been publishing in the last few weeks on some parts of tourism that need to be managed in a different way.

On this occasion, the chosen theme is the presence of posidonia on beaches. It is of great value but even so is removed from the parts of the coastline with the most tourists.

This peculiar plant, that is colonising the sea, that makes flowers and can live thousands of years, is intrinsically linked with the formation of the beaches on our islands. Scientific studies estimate that most of the sand is made from organisms that reproduce in the posidonia meadows.

The debris that reaches the seashore helps to capture the sand moved with the wind to form dune systems. They are also important for curbing the effects of winter storms.

Posidonia captures large quantities of CO2, holding the carbon in its stems and releasing oxygen. It constitutes one of the richest ecosystems at animal level in our marine environment.

Scientific publications suggest that posidonia could be the longest living species of the biosphere. Samples taken from the waters of Formentera show them to be more than 100,000 years old.

However, it grows very slowly, so that it is vulnerable to human aggressive activity. In our environment, the indiscriminate anchoring of many boats, the discharge of poorly purified emissions, brine returned to the sea from desalination plants, and the disturbance of mud that clouds the waters caused by aggressive use of motorboat engines, are some of the causes of degradation that are being observed.

In the last few years, legal protection has progressed for this species that forms a habitat considered a priority at a European level. It is no longer removed from most of the natural beaches and now there are surveillance boats to stop anchoring over the posidonia meadows.

Yet, how surprising that the tourist industry still calls for its removal from urbanized beaches. With the knowledge we have of the outstanding contribution made by this marine plant, its presence should be valued. Posidonia is not dirt.

What is dirt is the massive presence of plastics that are a consequence of a production system generating an enormous quantity of non-biodegradable rubbish, which is left uncontrolled in the environment. Going to the root of this global problem by stopping buying from providers that do not evolve into using biodegradable materials ought to be a universal commitment and a general request should be heard from tourist spokespersons given that they represent the most powerful economic activity in the archipelago.

You can see other announcements for the tourism campaign by clicking here Positive tourism

Vegetables and fruit with the best ecological footprint

Fruit and vegetables produced on the Land Stewardship Farms have an ecological footprint of 66% less than the average of farms at state level. This fact is important because we all eat several times a day. Food is one of the principal activities taking up land at a global level. It is also a major emitter of greenhouse gases. Continue reading Vegetables and fruit with the best ecological footprint