Everybody loves the Balearic Islands’ beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters – but are we all doing enough to protect them?
With millions of visitors descending upon the archipelago every summer, it has never been more important to be mindful of the delicate ecosystem that surrounds its shores.
Luckily, as consciousness surrounding environmental issues continues to rise, most of us are keen to travel in a ‘greener and cleaner’ way.
The IbizaPreservation foundation is a local organisation that runs a variety of initiatives to promote the conservation and regeneration of the unique socio-environmental heritage of Ibiza and Formentera. Its projects include the annual Marine Forum, Posidonia Protection, Ibiza Produce, and Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera. As a leading source of information, the IPF experts recommend the following easy steps for a more sustainable holiday.
While some of the tips are more relevant to the Balearic Islands, many can be implemented wherever you are in the world – even at home!
Check out these ten simple steps to become a more eco-conscious traveller and protect our island paradise, or wherever else your adventures take you…
Compare to find the greenest way to get there
Yes, many people fly in and out of the islands – but there are more eco-friendly options than air travel to reach the Balearics. Where possible, explore no-fly options such as train and ferry to minimise your carbon footprint. You can calculate and offset the total CO2 emissions from your Ibiza trip at www.ibizasostenible.com/co2-ciudadanos.
Explore the eco-friendly way
Cut pollution by walking, cycling and using public transport to move around the islands wherever possible. Exploring on two feet will lead you to some magical locations that cannot be reached by car. Meanwhile, hiring a bicycle is one of the most fun ways to get around Formentera – and part of the island’s tranquil hippie lifestyle. If you need to hire a car, choose an electric vehicle. On Ibiza, there are several charging stations located around the island.
Save water and energy
The Balearic Islands can suffer from severe water shortages during summer, so being sensible with your water usage is essential. Opt for short showers instead of baths and turn the tap off when washing up or brushing teeth. Hang up and reuse towels to avoid generating unnecessary washing. Eco-conscious hotels such as Can Salia in the Sant Josep area reuse the greywater from showers and bathroom sinks to supply their WCs and water green areas. The four-star hotel has also installed motion sensors that turn off air-conditioning and lights after 30 minutes without detecting movement in the rooms.
Mind the plastic
In a bid to cut down on pollution, the Balearic Islands banned single-use plastics in 2020. Wherever you holiday, it is commendable to use refillable water bottles and reusable bags for your shopping. Buy loose fruit & vegetables from local vendors to cut down on plastic wrapping and support the local community. You can also request your drinks to be served without a straw, although many restaurants and bars use plastic alternatives these days.
It should really go without saying, but please clean up after yourself! Don’t leave cigarette butts, plastic lids or other waste on the beach or throw them into the beautiful countryside. Always separate your waste and deposit it in the correct recycling containers that are available all over the islands.
And one more time for the smokers…
Please don’t throw your cigarette butts on the ground – and especially don’t stub them out on the ground! Not only can they take up to 10 years to degrade and release harmful toxins into the environment, they are also an immense fire hazard.
Respect your surroundings
Honour the local environment by ensuring you don’t walk over protected areas like sand dunes, and take nothing of the islands’ flora and fauna home except photos. If you see a turtle or its eggs on the beach, please don’t touch them and call 112 straight away.
The posidonia underwater plant is local to the Balearic Islands and a very special kind of seagrass. It absorbs 15 times more CO2 than the Amazon rainforest and is the reason why the Balearic Sea remains crystal clear. Anchoring boats in the posidonia meadows is illegal and the damage caused can take centuries to repair. If you are hiring a boat in the Balearic Islands without an experienced local captain, be aware that the authorities undertake spot-checks which can incur hefty fines if they find you too close to the protected areas.
Take care of your skin – and the environment
Studies have shown considerable evidence that 97% of sunscreens are toxic to human health and marine life. Choosing an eco-friendly brand such as People4Ocean suncare reduces pollution in the water and is much friendlier not only to the seas, but also to your skin.
Support the islands and choose local
Visit one of Ibiza’s local farms and pick your own sun-ripened produce from the fields. Some of them, such as the ecological finca Can Muson near Santa Eulalia, Ibiza, will also introduce you to the farm animals – making this a great activity for families with children. Meanwhile, the local markets and farm shops are brimming with fresh fruit and vegetables as well as Balearic delicatessen and artisanal products. Discover more about the local history and culture, and take home some authentic souvenirs.To find out more about Ibiza’s incredible fruit, veg and other delicacies visit www.ibizaproduce.org.
For further information about the IbizaPreservation foundation and their work in Ibiza and Formentera visit www.ibizapreservation.org.