Click here for our sustainable tourism guides for visitors and local businesses!

Light and shade in post-Covid environmental recovery, according to IbizaPreservation’s 2021 Sustainability Report

Home / News / Light and shade in post-Covid environmental recovery, according to IbizaPreservation’s 2021 Sustainability Report
Home / News / Light and shade in post-Covid environmental recovery, according to IbizaPreservation’s 2021 Sustainability Report
Light and shade in post-Covid environmental recovery, according to IbizaPreservation’s 2021 Sustainability Report

The report, published today by the Sustainability Observatory, shows improvements in waste management but a decrease in renewables

Ibiza 25/10/22 – The Sustainability Observatory of IbizaPreservation has completed its 2021 Ibiza Sustainability Report, the main conclusions of which were made public this Wednesday in the Consell of Ibiza. The presentation was led by the Observatory’s Technical Coordinator, Itziar Arratibel, alongside Inma Saranova, Director of IbizaPreservation and Mariano Juan, Minister of Territorial Management at the Consell. It is the first year this department has lent its support through a nominal subsidy towards the project, which it considers to be of strategic importance for the island*.

The report presented this Wednesday continues the work begun with the 2018 Sustainability Report, with the aim of better understanding the state of the island’s sustainability. This fourth report contains 49 indicators for 2021 compiled from different sources, public as well as private, and relating to 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda.

Monitoring of SDG 2 – “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”  (which intends to double agricultural productivity and income of small-scale food producers by 2030) – has provided some of the most encouraging data. The Observatory analysed various indicators relating to agricultural production and livestock farming which have produced some positive news: the continuation of the upward trend in organic farming on the island, with an increase of 2.9% in the number of producers and 29% of area farmed compared to 2020.

As for the agricultural sector as a whole, it is worth noting an increase of 15% in the area of extensive arable crops as well as the fact that vegetable production has nearly doubled, going from 1,156 tonnes in 2020 to 2,232 tonnes in 2021, signifying a 93% increase.

More worrying is the situation vis-à-vis livestock where, according to the Register of Livestock Farms (REGA), 2021 saw a reduction in the number of livestock farms, for example the loss of 7.2% of sheep farms and 9.4% of goat farms. “These numbers highlight that it is vital to explore strategies to reactivate the island’s livestock sector, especially given that, as opposed to the intensive livestock farming on the peninsula, it is a sector that could contribute to regenerative agriculture and improved levels of food self-sufficiency,” said Itziar Arratibel, the Observatory’s Technical Coordinator and author of the 2021 Sustainability Report.

Another significant finding, relating to SDG 12  – “Responsible production and consumption” – is that the percentage of selectively collected waste reached 27.55% of total waste collection in 2021, the highest to date, although still far from the 50% target stipulated by the Balearic Waste Law. Compared to the numbers from 2020 and 2019, this marks an increase of 72.7% increase and 18.2% respectively. At the same time, bulk municipal waste collection rose some 3.8%, an anticipated increase due to higher pressure in 2021 compared to during the pandemic. Arratibel explained that, “This type of waste is the kind that a priori cannot be reused or recycled and would therefore go to landfill. The rise may indicate either an increase in this type of waste or poor recycling by citizens.” It is also important to note that organic waste collection began towards the end of 2020. 5,585 tonnes of this were treated at the Ca Na Putxa plant during 2021, 83.7% of which occurred during the summer season.

Various water indicators linked to SDG 6 – “Ensure access to water and sanitation for all” – were prepared by the Water Alliance of Ibiza and Formentera and included in this report. They reflect the post-Covid socioeconomic recovery and its impact on resource and water management. Urban demand for water rose by 8%, according to data provided by the Balearic Government, 61% of which occurred during the high season.

One of the most disappointing findings of the report concerns the declining quality of treated water. 4 out of 10 treatment plants on the island supplied poorly treated water in 2021, double the number in 2020. Moreover, there is evidence that more than half, or 52%, of the treated water was discharged into the sea containing traces of organic matter over and above the legal limit. The Vila treatment plant continues to be the main source of these discharges, responsible for 99% of the total island wide. “This issue is of utmost importance,” declared Inma Saranova, Director of IbizaPreservation. “Ibiza cannot allow poorly treated water to end up in the sea.”

“It is difficult to comprehend that the work of WWTPs (Waste Water Treatment Plants), as stipulated by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (Miteco), is still on hold. The situation is regrettable, and people are tired of listening to excuses year after year, something that will inevitably take its toll on the credibility of the administrations in question,” continued Saranova.

Air quality is another indicator analysed in this report and linked to SDG 3, “Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”. In 2021, the values collected by the fixed stations of the Balearic Government’s Climate Change and Atmosphere Service showed that the quality of air with respect to the amount of SO2 (sulfur dioxide) and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) was “very good”. However, there were 35 instances recorded where the maximum level established for the presence of O3 (tropospheric ozone) was exceeded, when in 2020 only 3 such events were recorded. The data from 2020 was clearly affected by the lower levels of economic activity due to the Covid-19 health emergency.

With regard to the SDG 7 – “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”- the report highlights that the data on electricity production and demand for 2021 reflect that the island only generates 28.3% of the total energy required for socioeconomic activity. Of the total demand, 9.3% came from gas turbines, 18.9% from diesel generators and a mere 0.1% from photovoltaic sources. The rest of the electrical energy required on the island was supplied by the Mallorca-Ibiza link (with an estimated contribution of 621.3 GWh, 71.6% of total demand). Furthermore, the production of photovoltaic energy decreased by 33% in 2021, going from 1,381.6MWh registered to 925.5MWh. Ibiza therefore not only remains far from achieving the goal of a 35% proportion of energy from renewable sources by 2030 but has actually gone backwards.

On a positive note, as concerns the SDG 15 – “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss – there was only a single forest fire registered in 2021, as opposed to 3 in in 2020, and 16 outbreaks of fire (some 36% lower than the previous year). In total, 2.47 hectares were affected, down 81% from 2020.

The report also provides information on other relevant issues such as the impact of tourism, property purchase and rental prices (which continue to rise), as well as data on air, maritime and public transport, the quality of bathing waters and the state of conservation of certain marine habitats among others. All this information is freely available on the Sustainability Observatory section on the website along with downloadable Excel files containing a breakdown of all data collected.

IbizaPreservation expressed its thanks to the department of Territorial Management of the Consell of Ibiza for its trust in the Sustainability Observatory during 2022 and for its pledge to continue collaborating in 2023.

*The Ibiza Sustainability Report 2021, published by the Sustainability Observatory of IbizaPreservation, was financed in its entirety by the Island Consell of Ibiza. The Consell also subsidises the work of the Observatory in collecting data from Ibiza within the framework of the 4 Islands Report 2021.