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A decade of decline in the quality of Ibiza’s bathing waters

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Home / News / A decade of decline in the quality of Ibiza’s bathing waters
A decade of decline in the quality of Ibiza’s bathing waters

Between 2010 and 2021 the percentage of bathing areas rated as “excellent” drops from 100% to 50%

Ibiza, 14-06-22 – The IbizaPreservation Sustainability Observatory, in the process of preparing its annual sustainability report 2021, has just released data on the quality of bathing water on the island of Ibiza and the results are not encouraging. Taking into account that bathing waters are qualified as either excellent, good, sufficient or insufficient, the results for last year show that half of the beach areas analysed lost their “excellent” classification over the last 11 years.

In 2010, all 41 beach sampling points on the island were classified as excellent. In contrast, in 2021 the number of points with excellent quality fell by 51 %, with only 20 sampling points gaining the top rating. Of the remaining, 16 were rated as good and 4 were only sufficient (in 2021 40 points were studied instead of 41).

By municipality, San Antonio registered the greatest reduction in the quality of its bathing waters, losing the excellent qualification in five of the sampling points located in the bay area: es Pouet, Cala Gració and Caló des Moro. Santa Eulalia, San José and San Juan followed with reduced quality at 4 beaches each: Platja des Riu, Platja de Santa Eulària, Cala Pada and Cala Llonga in Santa Eulalia; Port de San Miguel, Portinatx, Benirràs and s’Arenal in San Juan; and Platja des Pinet, Badia de Sant Antoni, Port des Torrent and Cala Vadella in San José. In the case of Ibiza Town, 3 areas at Talamanca and Figueretas lost their quality rating.

Meanwhile it is noteworthy that the island of Formentera maintained the excellent classification in all sampled waters between 2010 and 2021, without registering any variation.

The base data for the analysis of the quality of bathing waters are obtained from samples carried out by the Balearic Government, sanitary information data from the Ministry of Health and data from the studies of the Town Hall of Sant Josep de Sa Talaia.

Another aspect to highlight in relation to the quality of bathing water is occasional contamination by fecal water, data that is extracted from individual samples carried out on beaches during 2021. In that year, summer monitoring carried out in 51 bathing areas showed 20 incidences of contamination by fecal bacteria. In these areas it was therefore recommended not to bathe on one or more occasions throughout the summer period. In addition, in 6 areas (Es Caló den Serral, Portinatx, Benirràs, s’Arenal Gros, es Canar, and Caló des Moro) bathing was temporarily banned due to the degree of contamination.

The Sustainability Observatory expressed its concern about this ongoing loss of quality: “Bathing waters are a key part of our natural environment and are exposed to both man-made and natural sources of pollution. In this case, it seems reasonable to surmise that human pressure together with issues around local infrastructure could be behind this increasing deterioration in water quality,” said Itziar Arratibel, technical coordinator of the Observatory, who added that “there could be some relationship between certain structures, such as spillways, and the pollution of coastal waters.”

Given this and the lack of empirical studies to pinpoint the cause of the problem, the Observatory has urged local administrations to identify in a rigorous and scientific way the reasons for the continuous decline and to implement the necessary solutions in order to reverse the process.