THE Spirit of Spain is a cultural club of English speakers. We visit anything of interest on the island every month and have a good meal afterwards to relieve our brains. Usually, we visit places that are well known. Last Tuesday, we were to be astounded. Who on the island is not bored with endless poligonos (industrial estates) blotting the landscape. As they are frequently near the non-stop roadworks, you cannot miss them. Both are the subject of grumbles about destruction of the beautiful landscape of Majorca.
IT was decided to visit the Majorca Park of Environmental Technology ... A nice name to hide what is presumably a malodorous area where dustbins were emptied in order to get rid of the contents and even to recycle what one could salvage. We were to be astonished! Off the road to Soller from Palma, among well-tended orchards and almost completely hidden in a very big estate, were discreet modern structures. They were quite different from the usual factories and separated by many hundreds of metres from each other. Ushered into a reception area where the furnitue was all made of recycled material, and where were beautiful models of the Parc in recycled glass cases, we were soon in a university type lecture room with every mod con. Immense sheets of glass made sure that daylight was used to its utmost, saving electricity. An hour's worth of revelation by a lecturer with appropriate slides, etcetera, followed. By the end, we were almost silent with admiration at the work of the many companies involved. Also, when we had absorbed the figures, we were left wondering how, had it not been for this enterprise, we had not long ago been buried in the amount of rubbish produced by the island. Fifty seven thousand tonnes of paper are recycled every year; one tonne of this saves 14 trees, that equals roughly 8 million trees; 48'000 tonnes of glass recovered annually. Of about 1.5 million tonnes of rubbish collected, 58 percent is recycled. Burning the rest under controlled conditions so that gases are not released into the atmosphere, supplies all the electricity for the plants and about 8 percent of the Island's electricity. What remains from the burning is used for the foundations of roads, buildings, etc.
Large rubbish (motorcars?) and so forth, are carefully inspected, restored if possible, before dismantling.
Organic waste is turned into compost. The wonderful effect of this was visible through the glass windows of the lecture theatre. Flowering cacti like dinosaurs.
THIS is all possible through the cooperation of many different specialised firms all working under a management that is separate from the Government, although there is finance from the centre. Classes are run every day to inform school children, and great efforts are made to secure the cooperation of local authorities. Naturally, older folk in villages not having had the privilege of education, and many illiterate through no fault of their own, need some convincing about the mystery and requirements of recycling. There is a train that takes you round, and the public can visit. Find out about lectures, and information from the reception desk. About fifty of us were given plenty to think about. Digging in one's memory, one or two things are worth noting in addition: mercury from one battery can contaminate 600'000 litres of water (chemists, supermarkets and shops selling batteries have recycling receptacles). Glass from windows, mirrors, vases and other flat glass is not to be put in glass collectors. They are manufactured with heavy metals for screening ultraviolet light and so on. Paper that has been contaminated by edibles or oil is no use.
EVERYONE can benefit from knowing what goes on in the Parc de Technologies Ambientals de Majorca.
Thank goodness it is there, and spread the word.
As a doctor, I only regret there was not a footnote reminding people that we are short of human bits to recycle, and a wish to this effect is not difficult to sign.
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