Staff Reporter THE 36 specialised cleaning boats, belonging to the regional Environment Ministry, collected 20 tonnes less of floating rubbish from Balearic inshore waters in August than in July this year, despite the fact that there were more tourists.

Jaume Font, Balearic Environment minister, was speaking yesterday during the presentation of the latest results of the Bathing Water Quality Plan.
He confirmed that a total of 55'930 kilos of rubbish was removed from the coastal waters of the Islands during August, 20 tonnes less than the amount withdrawn in July.

Font highlighted the fact that since the coastal cleaning programme was launched in March, August has been the month when least rubbish had been collected. He said that this was because in the previous months, when there had been fewer tourists, a lot more accumulated rubbish which had built up before the clean-up plan got underway had been collected.

Of all the material collected, plastic was amassed in the largest quantities, making up 74.32 percent of the total figure; 9.97% consisted of wood, 7.54% of organic material, 4.08% algae, and 0.48% oil.

Analysed by islands, Majorca was responsible for 33'156 kilos of the rubbish, Minorca for 12'339 kilos, Ibiza for 7'303 kilos and on Formentera, 3'130 kilos. In terms of daily average collections, 1'069 kilos were scooped up from Majorca, 235 kilos from Ibiza and 101 kilos from Formentera. The average daily collection for each boat was 50.12 kilos, while the average amount per metre of beach was 0.501 kilos.

Font expressed his “satisfaction” at the lesser amount of rubbish being generated, although he warned that “there's still a great deal to do”. He said “it is necessary to explore new avenues and new systems for beach cleaning in order to improve our service”. He believed that the Bathing Water Quality Plan which will draw to a close on 30 September and in which the Balearic government has invested 3'800'000 euros, “is doing a great deal of good” not just for the waters of the Balearic Islands but for tourists and residents alike.

A light aircraft has also formed part of the Cleaning programme over the past few months. Its job is to keep an aerial lookout along the Islands' coastlines and to alert the Ministry control centre of any focal points of contamination. In August, it recorded a total of 114 control centre alerts.

The type of accumulated waste that the plane spotted were 60 percent plastics, 20 percent oil, and the remaining 20 percent was attributed to organic material.

Responsibility for beach and water cleanliness lies with the ministry of the Environment. The aim of the department, however, claimed Font, is to “offer the best possible conditions so that tourists and residents alike on the Islands are satisfied with the quality of the water”. He added that “a large part” of the reduction of collected rubbish is due to people not carelessly throwing rubbish into the sea.