Massive earth moving project designed to turn waste tip into open parkland.

PRESIDENT of Palma's municipal water management and rubbish collection company (Emaya), Cristina Cerdó, announced yesterday that the investment required to close the old refuse dump at Son Reus and open a “temporary” one until Majorca reaches a situation of “zero waste” in 2010, will cost 10 million euros - 80 percent of which is to be provided by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER).

Cerdó was speaking on the occasion of her final visit to the recycling, incineration and dumping facilities at Son Reus before its closure. The premises, measuring some 247'300 square metres have been running for 33 years. Following its closure, the dump will be sealed and accumulated gases syphoned off for use as an alternative energy source.

Emaya's president explained in an address, that the site currently houses non-dangerous urban waste which is unable to be processed by the incinerator. She confirmed that until the new equipment in the extension to the incinerator facilities comes on line - allowing all waste to be processed - a new temporary site will come into use alongside the existing one at Son Reus.

The old dump will be covered in various layers of sealing material to shut it off completely from the surface. The result will be so efficient, claimed Cerdó, that not even rainwater will be able to penetrate the waste ground and there will be no pollution from the decomposing material below ground.

Once the former dump has been sealed off, a layer of earth one metre thick will be spread over its surface which will be planted with species of shrubs, trees and plants native to the Balearics.

Cerdó highlighted the fact that in 2007, a total of 262'430 tonnes of urban waste were collected in Palma alone. The figures reveal an increase of five percent on the previous year and closer analysis shows that “the months when the greatest bulk of rubbish is collected are July and August.” Catalina Julve, head of Environment on the Council of Majorca said yesterday that her team were about to launch what has been termed “Project Zero Waste,” a scheme whereby the Balearic Islands will be the first region in the world where all waste will be selectively collected and recycled.

The installations at Son Reus have recently come under fire from international ecologist group Greenpeace who staged a demonstration against plans to enlarge the incinerator facilities, claiming that this form of high heat technology in itself causes pollution.