Miss W’s blog: While you were sleeping (or raving)…

It takes a certain type of person to voluntarily stay away from the now legendary Space Closing Fiesta. It also takes a certain type of person to volunteer to clean up someone else’s mess on their valuable day off. I must admit… I cannot call myself one of either types… yet!

While most of us were still raving or sleeping off the effects of the night before (don’t worry Miss M, this is not another blog about Space Closing), these special types of people came together for the good of the island, cleaning up one of our most beautiful landmarks after it had been, quite literally, trashed after a long tourist season.

These certain types of people I’m referencing are the lovely folk behind Ibiza’s biggest boat charter company, Smart Charter Ibiza. From the outside looking in, they’re a cool crew of young, hip, island dwellers running an awesome luxury brand from a super slick, cool HQ, surrounded by luxurious vessels and glamorous clients and hitting the high seas on a regular basis. But look beyond the surface, and you’ll see each and every member of the Smart Charter Ibiza team is also a passionate Ibiza lover, who knows the island like the back of their hand and wants to preserve it for everyone – whether you live or holiday here.

It was this love for the island that inspired the first Smart Charter Ibiza beach clean-up initiative on the morning of Monday October 3, 2016. At 9am sharp, a team of 40 Smart Charter Ibiza employees volunteered to whizz across the water to Es Palmador – the beautiful strip of land that sits between Ibiza and Formentera – in their own time. If you’ve ever been taken a charter to Formentera, it’s likely your captain will have stopped off at this paradisiacal pitstop on the way to your main destination. The water is crystal clear, there are natural mud baths on shore and it is blissfully uninhabited – no houses, no people, no shops, no restaurants. Quite simply, heaven.

But if you do the math, and think over a hundred charters (perhaps more) are zipping between islands every day for at least five months of the year, the thought of the environmental impact this causes is enough to make your head spin. Sadly, not everyone who disembarks to spend time on Es Palmador’s beautiful shores are as environmentally conscious as they should be, not bringing their trash back to their boats or never putting cigarette butts in the bin (it’s uninhabited but Es Palmador does have rubbish bins provided, thought they overflow each and every day so clearly not enough). Now I’ve never been great at maths, but I know that equates to A LOT of rubbish. Not to mention the oil and waste that is a by-product of all the boats mooring in the shallows too.

Hence the reason this was a prime location for the first Smart Charter Ibiza clean-up. Bright and early, the team donned their protective white gloves and hi-viz vests, grabbed sifting nets and rubbish bags and hit the shoreline. Bottles, cans, bottle tops, broken glass, debris, general rubbish and waste, disused timber and building materials, plastic bags and of course, thousands of cigarette butts were shipped back to our main island to be disposed of correctly or recycled over the course of the day. Horrifyingly, the more they cleaned (which was pretty much with a fine tooth comb, over every inch of sand like a professional police investigation), the more they found, with the team even unearthing piles of rubbish that had been buried or hidden from sight.

Are we not all human beings living on the same planet? Don’t we all love Ibiza and want it to stay beautiful? I find it mortifying that people – probably a combination of residents and visitors alike – can disrespect our fair shores this way. It’s a shame there’s no CCTV to capture the offenders… then again, it’s the unspoilt nature of the island, without mod cons such as this, which makes it so special.

Over the course of the day, Smart Charter Ibiza recorded data about the rubbish collected, reporting to appropriate authorities to help improve environmental management, recycling and to help with more research and development in the future. As a brand that is deeply concerned with the environment and the impact tourism and its associated industries have on the island, they aim to continue the beach clean-up initiative in the coming year and invite other island businesses or volunteers to get involved.

If you want to take part in an Ibiza beach clean-up, get in touch via the link below. You supply the volunteers and Smart Charter Ibiza will supply the boat, the safety equipment, lunch and drinks, plus transport the rubbish collected on the day to the correct places for its disposal. Just think – with over 80 beaches on Ibiza, that could be one clean-up day every day for almost the next three months… and our island could start the new year in a beautiful, natural and unspoilt state. If we could all just pledge one day out of our lives… think of the difference it can make. We really can be the change we wish to see on the island.

And while the ongoing clean-up initiative is amazing (congrats and thanks to the guys at Smart Charter Ibiza), it’s not enough. There needs to be ongoing education for tourists coming to our shores about disposing of rubbish responsibly. There needs to be severe fines or even punishment for those who commit environmentally damaging crimes such as this. It’s got to stop. Because we need to keep Ibiza beautiful – not just for those of us who live here, not just to keep attracting the tourist dollars every year, but for future generations who haven’t yet had the chance to discover and appreciate the island in her natural beauty.

Thank you Smart Charter Ibiza – we salute you!

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