MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region
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The Balearic Regional Government has declared innefective the enlargement of the Parc natural de s’Albufera de Mallorca
Thursday 5 February 2004

The Balearic Regional Government has declared innefective the enlargement of the Parc natural de s’Albufera de Mallorca (Ramsar site) that had been approved by the previous regional government in May 2003. The area affected by this reduction is a former fossil dunes system which was exploited for sand extraction during the 60s-70s but it still holds one of the last colonies of Merops apiaster in the Balearics. The local hoteliers, lead by the maior of Muro council (and owner of one of the main hotel groups "Gruphotel" of the islands), want to build a golf course in the area. So after a thermal power station to the north, large tourist development to the east, intensive agriculture to the west, sewage works to the south and several roads around the wetland, s’Albufera Ramsar site will be further encroached by this new golf course, under the excuse of "promoting tourism of quality". See info on PN s’Albufera on: http://www.mallorcaweb.net/salbufera/

This reduction comes a month after the Balearic PArliament approuved a law to reduce the size of two other natural parks created by the previous government in 2001-2002: Parc Natural de Llevant in Mallorca and Parc Natural de Cala d’Hort Ibiza; both were reduced in more than 20,000ha each, by excluding the private land and leaving the 2 natural parks with only the public areas (see the support campaign of BirdLife on http://www.birdlife.net/action/campaigns/iba_campaign/help/balearic.html). This takes the Balearics islands to the last position in the ranking of regions concerning protected areas in Spain (see pdf report).

At the same time, Palma Local council and the regional government have given approuval for the development of ses Fontanelles, one of the last remains of what it was the "Prat de Sant Jordi", a large wetland in the plain of Palma, drained for agriculture in the 18th century and nowadays occupied by intensive agriculture fields, fuel tanks, many rent-a-car parking areas, the airport and large tourist development areas. Ses Fontanelles remained as a small salinas, only 32ha, next to the coast, and one of the few bits not-yet-developped on Palma coast that is now being reclaimed (in 2004!!!). The project is to develop side-tourist equipment (a 90,000m2 comercial centre for tourists and a 50,000 m2 aquarium). The area was inclouded in the project of decree for the protection of wetlands that was ALMOST approved by the previous government, and now is totally abandonned at the bottom of a drawer on the new Regional Minister of environment, Jaume Font. Some pictures are here: http://forumaus.gobmallorca.com/Fonta_1.jpg, http://forumaus.gobmallorca.com/Fonta_2.jpg.

Another wetland in the south, Salobrar de Campos (also known as Salinas de Levante), the second largest in Mallorca, is also under threat as they want to allow building a large hotel and spa centre next on its border, where now there is a small and traditional spa.

All of that is combined to a plan to build 4 new motorways in Mallorca (from Palma to east, west and north, and a transversal one from Inca to Manacor), 3-4 new dessalination plants, make an electricity cable conexion with mainland Spain so to be able to import energy produced by nuclear plants, a new gasoduct to feed several power stations that will be constructed.... The prospects for the next 3-4 years are really dramatic!

I just want to remind that Palma Local Council, the regional Government & the regional Parliament are now in the hands of the conservative Partido Popular after the last regional elections in March 2003, and that the regional president is Jaume Matas, the former Spanish Ministry of Environment!!!. It seems that during his 3 years in the Ministry he has learnt only how to spoil the last beautiful corners of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Cabrera. And it is obvious that SUSTAINABILITY is not a word he uses a lot...

It is very likely that in the next weeks we request the support of your organisation in order to try to stop the masacre of our islands. We very much hope that you will be able go give us a hand, even just by writing letters. To start, the GOB (the main environmental organisation here and one of the strongest in Spain) has convened a large public demonstration on 14 february. More info on http://www.gobmallorca.com/.


PS: Please circulate this message to anyone who could be interested, and who would be willing to provide a letter of support to the environmentalists in the Balearics.


See online : Mallorca Web

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