AS part of this summer's coastal clean-up campaign, the Balearic government has succeeded in collecting a total of 148'569 kilos of rubbish from the Islands' beaches.
From this total which has been amassing since 1st June this year, 77.85 percent consisted of plastic waste material. It is believed, however, that some plastic may have been lying in the depths since last year and only floats to the surface with the higher temperatures.
Regional Tourism minister, Joan Flaquer, declared his satisfaction with the results of this unprecedented project yesterday.
The Balearic government, he added, has set aside 5 million euros to fund the scheme, along with other material resources such as 37 boats especially designed for trawling rubbish out of coastal waters, and a light aircraft christened Milana for aerial pinpointing of rubbish accumulation around the Islands' coastline.
Throughout the Balearics, 57'239 kilos of rubbish were collected in June, 75'894 in July and 15'435 from 1st to 10th August, he reported.
Of the total captured so far this month, 8'667 came from the waters around Majorca, 3'060 from Minorca, 2'861 from Ibiza and 847 from the Island of Formentera.
Analysing the type of rubbish collected, 77.85 percent were plastics, 10.56 wooden material, 6.15 percent organic material, 2.35 percent weed, 0.59 percent oil, and the rest miscellaneous.
In Calvia alone, where the most recent results of the clean-up campaign were announced yesterday, 8'152 kilos had been collected since 1st June this year.
Flaquer affirmed that the outcome of the project will contribute towards improving the environmental quality of the Islands, thereby promoting the quality of the Balearics as a tourist destination.
Separately, the regional government aims to perfect the rubbish collection system and to analyse the nature of the waste accumulation with the help of the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies. Once the origin is established, Authorities will be in a better position to clamp down on those responsible. It is suspected, however, that some part of the residue drifts up from North Africa.
The regional Environment ministry and central government in Madrid are to negotiate a system of fines to be imposed on polluters.
Minister Jaume Font warned earlier this month, without wanting to single out any one sector for blame, that boat owners who still have the habit of throwing all their rubbish overboard, will stand to be penalised.
In 2005, it is planned to launch a campaign to raise public awareness over these environmental issues.