Rubbish is one cause of wetland degradation, such as here at Saluet in Puerto Andratx. | Michel's


In the Balearics, there are 359 wetlands of more than 0.1 hectare. Of these, 63.5% are artificial - lagoons mainly associated with sewage treatment plants. Although there are a lot of these manmade wetlands, they comprise only nine per cent of total wetland area.

For the Balearic government and WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, the natural wetlands are the most important, and a plan being drawn up by the regional environment ministry and WWF focuses on the protection of 35.

The environment minister, Miquel Mir, stresses the importance of wetlands "as natural spaces and for birdlife". "In addition, they act as biological corridors. With the plan (the Balearic Strategy for Wetlands 2023-2030), we intend to prevent decline or loss, to improve water quality and to reduce the mortality of species.

"It is not enough to protect and preserve, wetlands must be restored in the face of the pressures of recent decades. They are important for alleviating climate change as they act as CO2 drains. They are the most important biodiversity refuges in the Balearics. They filter the water from aquifers and mitigate against floods and coastal storms."

Enrique Segovia of WWF says that the Balearic Islands have lost 30% of the natural wetlands that existed in the 18th century and that 50% of the current ones are not in good condition. "Globally, the populations of species decreased by 68% between 1970 and 2018. Wetlands are the most deteriorated and threatened ecosystems in the world because of drying-up, contamination, construction, invasive species and now climate change."