Staff Reporter
A MASSIVE coastal clean-up costing some 6'604'000 euros was given the go-ahead yesterday by the Balearic Government.
Government spokesman, Joan Flaquer, confirmed that the contract awarded for an organised, professional cleaning programme would mean 37 seagoing vessels keeping a vigil on the waters of the Balearics. Their daily task would be the collection of solid floating rubbish such as plastic bags and bottles, and rubbish thrown overboard or discharged by other vessels. Flaquer explained that these boats will also have the mission of preventing contamination in bathing areas and of the collection of flotsam and jetsam in the open sea around the islands. This clean-up programme, which will be co-ordinated by the Balearic Environment Ministry, will have 15 boats under its command.
It will operate on a section of coastline some six nautical miles in length.
Another 22 smaller vessels will be used for more localised coastal cleaning.
Specifically, 12 vessels will be on call for coastal cleaning between 1 June and 30 September. Of this number, six will operate around Majorca, three in Minorca and another three in Ibiza and Formentera. Another three boats will act as a back-up team in high tourist season. The Environment ministry will allocate 4'104'000 euros to funding the project, while the tourism department will provide another 2'500'000 euros, specified Flaquer. This programme, which will be in force for two years, also includes an investment of a million euros for the acquisition of specialised cleaning machinery for tackling inner city areas, he added. According to the spokesman, the award of contract sets out responsibility for all tasks entailed in the clean-up programme, including the essential work of scooping rubbish out of the sea and the assumption of the cost of its unloading, the transport and treatment of collected waste, the documenting of data on findings, as well as the maintenance of the ships themselves. The principal activity of the boats will focus on the areas closest to ports, sewage water outlets, underwater discharge pipes, and the mouths of torrents (water courses). These points have been targeted since it is here that the biggest risk of pollution exists.
Sophisticated satellite-assisted location systems will enable staff to pinpoint the areas where rubbish is accumulating.
The boats will be able to make use of a mobile telephone and a radio communication system in order to keep in contact with a co-ordination centre.
Security measures will be taken in order to guarantee the protection of bathers should the vessels have to operate in bathing areas.

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