KEEPING the coasts clean will be a priority this summer, and the authorities have a fleet of 37 boats and a plane to ensure this, under a new Sea Water Quality Plan, devised by the environment and tourism ministries.
The plan, which will be in force from June 1 to September 30, also has the collaboration of the coastal town councils, the maritime rescue service, the 112 emergency service and the Guardia Civil.
Jaume Font, the environment minister, launched the plan yesterday, saying it had been drawn up after large amounts of rubbish were washed up on Balearic coasts last summer.
He said that plans to control underwater sewage outlets were still pending but a blitz which will cost 80'000 euros is being organised.
Tourism chief Joan Flaquer said that tourism and the environment went hand in hand and the Plan benefits both tourists and residents.
The contract for cleaning the coasts, worth more than four million euros, has gone to the firms Ecolmare and Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas.
A light plane will fly over the coastal areas in the early hours of the morning, and will report on coastal areas where there is a lot of rubbish. The control centre will plan the routes for the boats, which will patrol daily from 6.30am to 3pm.
The boats are equipped for picking up solid rubbish and absorbing floating oil.
They also have water hoses to clean the dirt off breakwaters and then vacuum it up.
Font stressed that it was not just a question of cleaning up but complying with European directives.
The boats will be based in Pollensa, Alcudia, Portocolom, Colonia de Sant Jordi, Palma, Andraitx, Soller and Cala Rajada, among other resorts.
Ten boats will be operative in Minorca and four in Ibiza and Formentera.
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