Residents in the oldest part of Palma yesterday started getting to grips with the city's newest rubbish collection system. Initially, the installation of the ultra-modern looking waste chutes upset many local residents who complained they clashed with the local architecture, however, as of yesterday morning, there were no more of the old green rubbish containers in the area and residents are allowed to dispose of their rubbish down the chutes at any time of the day. The “pillar boxes” are automatically emptied every two to three hours, sucked down into a network of hydraulic pipes underground which lead to a main rubbish collection station. Yesterday the first phase of the new system came into operation, but by Christmas, the entire network running underneath the old part of the city will be operational. The system is already used in a number of Spanish and Scandinavian cities and has a blockage rate of just twice a year. The pillar boxes are separated into ones for domestic, commercial and mixed use and the move is part of Palma Mayor, Joan Fageda's desire to clean up the city. Two years ago, Palma residents voted the Majorcan capital as one of the dirtiest in Spain, and since then Fageda has been working hard to clean up the city. His quest, however, has not come cheap. This latest initiative cost over 18 million euros - but it will mean that in certain parts of the city, come 8p.m., mountains of rubbish will no longer start to pile and spend hours rotting on street corners until the refuse collectors arrive in the early hours, followed later by the street cleaners who have to wash down the city streets.


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