THE Avenida Jaime III is considered one of Palma's most sophisticated shopping areas, regularly frequented by Queen Sofia and other members of the Spanish royal family when on the island.

But nobody would think that to look at it today.
The Palma city council has chosen July, one of the peak months of the tourist season, to dig up the street to install a sophisticated new method of rubbish collection.

And the street now resembles a minefield, with areas cordoned off to pedestrians and traffic limited to one lane on one side of the road, making life difficult for pedestrians who want to cross the road or simply go window shopping.

This new rubbish collection system has already been installed in the narrow streets in the historical old city centre and in the area around the Plaza Olivar market.

It involves installing shutes and conveyer belts, the idea being that rubbish, in bags, is dropped down the shute and is whisked away by conveyer belt and a compressed air system to a central storage area, in the Avenidas.

Once there, it is compacted and put into huge containers which are then transported to a treatment centre such as Son Reus.
This does away with the need for unsightly rubbish containers, the contents of which often spill out into the street and are torn open by stray animals.

It also means that residents in the area are not awoken by the noise made by the dustmen as they empty the containers in the early hours of the morning.

Thanks to this system, which came into operation in the old part of the city in October 2002, more than 600 rubbish containers have already been removed from the streets.

But the general consensus is that it would have been better to wait until winter, when there are fewer people around, before starting work in the heart of the shopping centre.

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