Strangely enough last week our editor decided to call my arguments about some Majorcan reactions to tourism “A Load of Rubbish”. It must have been his opinion on those people's thoughts, but I think that today's article should really bear that title. It seems that we have still to learn how to cope with our rubbish and how not to create so much. People who live near the Son Reus centre outside Palma, and in fact near to Palmanyola, a district of Bunyola, suffer daily the tribulations of the delivery and treatment of ever increasing piles of rubbish. These neighbours go so far as to accuse the centre of tricking those who go so far as to select the residues into glass, paper, organic, etc., as they say this all gets mixed again.

A Balearic University professor has commented in a local newspaper that the human being is the only primate that creates such a problem, and went to far as to quote Sir Francis Chichester in his solo sail round the world who only had two spoonfuls of remains to throw to the seagulls. Naturally that great navigator did not have all the trappings of modern commerce to deal with in his small yacht, the plastic hermetically sealed packages, the daily newspaper, the endless plastic bottles for drinking water, cartons for milk, juice, wine, soup.... the list is endless. We used to shop with baskets but now we accept hundreds of plastic carrier bags that hardly last to the house with the weight of the purchases. On Majorca until not so long ago we used to have a system of returned glass bottles for soft drinks, wine and milk. We also bought fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, cheese and cold meats by weight, never in prepacked containers.

Toys, hardware, magazines, you name it, you find them in endless layers of plastic and cardboard and the majority of people live in apartments with no need for creating a compost from the organic remains of the home. So it is not surprising that Son Reus is already fuller of residues than anticipated, that smoke breaks out creating disagreeable smells and dust for the neighbours. And that is something that only the neighbours notice, because everyone else is only too thankful that, for the moment, unlike some other parts of Spain, the dustmen on Majorca have not joined the bandwagon of strikers. (watch out now for the hotel and restaurant employees......) and at least the rubbish disappears from out of our sight. But out of sight should not be out of mind. Our mind should really be on trying to limit as much as we can our residues, but unfortunately the manufacturers and suppliers make us fight a losing battle.

Anne Kay

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