Staff Reporter
THIS year, Palma City Council has increased by 183'106 euros, the funds that it allocates to beach safety and maintenance.
Antoni Nadal, Environment deputy, confirmed that daily inspections will be carried out on each of the municipality's beaches to monitor their general condition, in terms of their installations and equipment; cleanliness; and quality of water and sand.

The deputy was speaking yesterday following a Government Commission and Urban Management meeting. City Hall has increased this sector of its budget by 37'000 euros over and above that allocated in 2003, bringing the total of funds this year to 183'106 euros. A separate amount of 54'000 euros will be allocated to building a new lifeguard station on the Playa de Palma and another of 9'000 euros to reform the lifeguard stations at Cala Mayor and Ciudad Jardín.

These improvements, assured Nadal, are intended to reinforce any detected “weaker points”, as part of the drive to upgrade the quality of service of the municipal beaches. It will allow for immediate action to be taken to address problems that might otherwise have become issues during this year's high tourist season. An example of an anticipated factor is the “dirt on the surface of the water” syndrome which arose in 2003 as a result of the summer's extremely hot temperatures causing the temperature of the sea to rise and a certain kind of algae to bloom. Visitors and residents alike mistook the algae for ”dirty, or polluted water”.

The objectives of the said project, insisted Nadal, are to maintain the cleanliness and the infrastructure of the beaches of Palma, as well as ensuring its safety for bathers. A register of the “state of health” of all beaches needs to kept right up to date, claimed the deputy, “and users should be made aware of the need to respect the coastline”.

With regard to infrastructure, Nadal confirmed that beach walkways will be refurbished; correct signposting will be set up to indicate the services associated with each beach and facilities will be made available for the handicapped.

Nadal added that an attempt will be made to “balance” the level of quality of the five beaches of the municipality, for which stricter measures will be demanded of the companies given the responsibility for maintenance. Leaflets will be distributed in different languages amongst the bathers and beach users to keep them informed of legislation governing the use of the beach.

Companies entrusted with the upkeep of the beaches will have to install appropriate lighting and waste bins; to maintain the lifeguard stations, and a variety of other services such as the setting up of information points.

Separately, Nadal clarified that this summer, the municipal water and rubbish collection company, Emaya, will be responsible for coastal cleaning. The company has at its disposal, five small boats and a larger one, to work a short distance offshore It will also benefit from a collaboration agreement with the Fishermen's Association who have agreed that in the course of their work, they will collect flotsam and jetsam found polluting the sea.

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