Staff Reporter CITY environment councillor, Antoni Nadal, hoisted the “blue flag” yesterday on the Playa de Palma, the only one currently authorised to fly in the municipality.

The highly-prized emblem is an accolade awarded by the European Foundation for Environmental Education (FEEE), a European Union department, in recognition of cleanliness, security and environmentally sound beach management.

The Playa de Palma has held the blue flag, awarded to the City Council of Palma, for the past four years except for a period between 2000 and 2001, when it lost the distinction following an unfavourable water analysis, confirmed Nadal.

He gave assurances, however, that in the summer of 2005, the four other beaches in the municipality will also merit the prestigious award.
The councillor insisted that he placed a high value on “this symbol of quality”, which, he said, was a sure sign to the public that the beach fulfills all the necessary requirements of safety, accessibility and cleanliness.

Nadal also highlighted the fact that the “good level” at which the other beaches of Palma are maintained (Can Pere Antoni, Ciutat Jardí, Cala Mayor and Cala Estancia) is a “positive step towards” all of the municipality's beaches flying the blue flag next summer season.

In relation to this point, the beach at Ciutat Jardí lost the “blue flag” of quality last year and has not managed to recapture the prize in 2004. The councillor affirmed that both the City Council and the regional government were exploring every possible avenue to increase the number of beaches which maintain excellent facilities for the disabled and those with mobility problems.

The result of this hard work, Nadal claimed, is to be able to offer “a fine service to visitors who pay to come to the Playa de Palma”; due thanks, Nadal said, must also go to the companies which have been given the responsibility of maintaining cleanliness on the beaches and coastal waters.

The councillor also highlighted the importance of such companies, including the water and rubbish collection company Emaya, of which he is head, being able to “respond adequately” to cleaning these areas as quickly as possible in the event of bad weather flinging flotsam and jetsam onto the shoreline.

The environment councillor pointed out that the City Council has carried out maintenance work on all beaches from the end of last summer, and asserted that improvement of these beaches is rooted in structural modification, since the quality of water and sand is already at its highest, he claimed.

Combined efforts are made with neighbouring district councils to keep the water clean using six, specially designed boats operated by Emaya and the Balearic government.