Earlier this week, the Associació de Defensa del Port de Pollença, ASDEPP, posted two images side by side - one was of stagnant water on the beach in Puerto Pollensa, the other was of an earthmover on the beach. More appropriately a sandmover, the machine had been deployed following the original posting of the stagnant water photo. Social media had lit up, and the town hall swiftly reacted. The water was covered by sand.
You can’t do that - this was a reaction to the sand moving. Not without fixing the problem first anyway. Mayor Tomeu Cifre issued an assurance that there was no problem. The water now covered by sand had not been contaminated, while the work complied with the instructions from the regional ministry of the environment regarding the management of water channels, such as the one in question.
The water, as seen in the photo, added the mayor, was rainwater. There was no need, therefore, to analyse it.
ASDEPP’s images were the latest episode in the association’s campaign to clean up Puerto Pollensa. This campaign has not always endeared the association to the town hall. Rather than notifying the town hall, the mayor noted, the association “disseminates the problem on social media”.
As a result, the association will not be being invited back to meetings to discuss what has been a persistent issue - that of water discharges (contaminated or not).
There hadn’t actually been any meetings since one that was held at the initiative of the hoteliers association in November until one on Wednesday. The president of the hoteliers was present, as was the president of the yacht club.
The mayor and the deputy mayor (Puerto Pollensa delegate Andrés Nevado) were in attendance, as was Dr. Gotzon Basterretxea, the director of Imedea, the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies.
Jointly run by the Spanish National Research Council and the University of the Balearic Islands, Imedea’s research is focused on coastal and insular marine ecosystems. Founded in 1986, it has become an international centre of reference.
So a meeting with its director was clearly of some importance. And indeed it was, as the purposes were a) to analyse the environmental problems in the bay of Pollensa and b) to request European funds for an aid plan for the “global recovery” of the affected area.
Imedea will conduct a study of all conditions that affect the bay’s marine and land environment. The plan for recovery and improvement will then be drafted and European funds will be applied for. Mayor Cifre observed that now was a very good time to do this as the regional government has just set up the ministry for European funds - a “body to watch over the interests of municipalities and which we believe will help with funds for the improvement of the bay”.
In October last year, there was a technical report which highlighted the high cost and the difficulty of tackling discharges and righting a creaking drainage infrastructure. One therefore assumes that the town hall is hoping that Europe can come to its aid and to the aid of the ‘Moll’ in stumping up to meet this cost.
The mayor has stressed that the Imedea study will be “really important in knowing, based on scientific arguments, where the problems are which require solutions”. But while discharges and the drainage network are problems, what about others? Such as with anchoring.
News of the Imedea meeting was certainly timely, given the latest ASDEPP images. But it won’t stop images if there are repeats with discharges. How long will this European funds process take and how certain can the town hall be of receiving them?