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Sustainability Matters – June 2020

As World Environment Day approaches on 5 June, IbizaPreservation shares some sound advice on how to make your stay on Ibiza more sustainable.

The news that Ibiza will soon be able to welcome tourists back to its shores is welcome indeed. The economy of the island, and so many livelihoods, are dependent on the yearly influx of foreign visitors.

However, the Covid-19 crisis has served as a stark reminder of the environmental impact of tourism. With human activity cut down to a minimum for the past couple of months, the island has – quite literally – been enjoying a breath of fresh air.

Lockdown emissions drop

IbizaPreservation's Sustainability Observatory project has spent the last few weeks painstakingly gathering data on greenhouse gas levels here on the island. Its analysis revealed that, between 15 March, when lockdown began, and 10 May, when the strictest measures began to be lifted, harmful CO2 emissions dropped by up to 98% compared with the same period in 2018 (the most recent official data available).

That's of course largely down to the massive reduction in air traffic. But CO2 emissions specifically from cruise ships and other maritime traffic also dropped by more than 60%, while nitrous oxide levels caused by cars on the roads roughly halved.

Meanwhile, Ibiza residents have been sharing pictures of cleaner looking waters and the sight of dolphins, swimming along our coastlines, no longer seems to be a rarity.

Photo courtesy of Aquabus

That said, it is not our goal to try to keep tourists away – far from it. We are delighted to share the magic and natural beauty of our island with travellers from all over the world. But, as flights look set to start up again soon, we at IbizaPreservation hope to encourage visitors to reduce their environmental footprint.

Tips for sustainable tourism

Here are some simple things you can do during your holiday in Ibiza, to make your stay here as sustainable as possible.

  • Avoid single-use plastics. This can be easier said than done in a place like Ibiza, but a couple of reusable bags stuffed into your suitcase can save you from having to buy disposable ones at the supermarket. And just by bringing a refillable bottle and topping it up from large water containers (6 or 8 litres), you are cutting down significantly. Fill up at your hotel/apartment/villa and take your bottle to the beach; you'll save money as well as helping to protect the planet!
  • Recycle your waste. It is very easy to recycle on Ibiza and almost every street has a recycling point on it. It only takes a few minutes to separate your rubbish into glass, paper and plastic/other packaging and to pop down and put everything into the correct bins. Even if you don't speak Spanish, the containers are all colour coded and this handy guide shows you which one to place things in. (NB the brown, organic waste container is not yet available in Ibiza.)

Image courtesy of Ecodes

  • Do your bit at the beach. You can help to keep our environment clean by ensuring you take away all your rubbish from the beach with you – and any other bits of non-organic waste you happen to find while you're there. Take a bag and fill it up! And, if you're a smoker, please don't leave your cigarette butts in the sand. They can take up to 10 years to decompose, plus they are full of toxins which leach into the ground as they break down.
  • Don't waste water. Ibiza's underground aquifers are severely depleted and the island relies on desalination plants, which struggle to meet demand at the height of summer. Help save water by turning the tap off when you wash your hands, shave or brush your teeth. Try to have just one shower a day and keep it as short as possible. And of course, there's always the option of showering with someone else, if you'd like to try to save even more water!
  • Wear ecological sunscreen. Standard sun creams contain chemicals that are harmful to the marine environment. Eco-friendly, biodegradable sunscreen helps to protect the Posidonia sea grass the Balearics are famous for. These sprawling meadows are an extremely effective carbon store and are what keeps our waters crystal clear. Sol de Ibiza is one eco brand available on the island, but there are plenty of others available in chemists here and back home.

As you can see, these are all very simple things that needn't interfere with your enjoyment of a holiday here on Ibiza. But, if everyone does them, they quickly add up to have a big impact. By keeping our land and sea clean and healthy, we can ensure that future generations get to carry on enjoying them as much as we all have.

You can find out more about IbizaPreservation and donate towards their work by going to their website: You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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