A vast port enlargement – which is both unnecessary and expensive – will cause serious environmental damage. The project is being promoted by central government but it is a case of vested interests prevailing over environmental protection.
The Neptune sea-grass, located between the West Mediterranean islands of Eivissa and Formentera, is under serious threat. Human activity and the lack of any real or effective protection measures are the reason why the prairies of Neptune grass are disappearing at a rate of 3% a year.
In this area between Eivissa and Formentera, a team of investigators recently discovered a unique specimen of Neptune grass, 8 kilometres long.
This state-backed project will involve the dumping of 660.000 m3 of polluted mud, dredged from the port area. The spot chosen is situated off the coast of the neighbouring island of Formentera. This is a serious threat to the sea-grass which grows in this area but this is not all: the dumped mud will contain pieces of an invasive sea weed now growing in the harbour (Caulerpa racemosa), thus spreading this damaging plant further afield.
Neptune sea-grass prairies play a crucial role in marine ecosystems since they are home to more than 400 different species. They reduce shore erosion and are essential to the protection and regeneration of the sandy beaches.
The sea-grass prairie under threat by the impending port enlargement has a special significance. It is not only catalogued as a Site of Community Importance (SCI) in compliance with the EU's habitat directive, but also- due to its exceptional character- has been granted World Natural Heritage status by UNESCO. This natural wonder, considered the best in the world, is located between Eivissa and Formentera and covers an area of 700 square kilometres.
The Spanish government defends the port project saying the harbour facilities need to be enlarged and modernised at a cost of 116 million Euros. Nevertheless there are other alternatives, much more cost-effective and above all, environmentally friendly. These have not even been considered. Why not?
The island of Eivissa has suffered a frenzy of property speculation and institutional corruption for the last 30 years. The coast has been ravaged by urban development and the landscape disfigured by public works, which are totally out of proportion for an island of only 540square kilometres. This new port enlargement continues this nightmare of damaging development.
The project proposed by the Spanish government threatens not only the Neptune grass, but it will also exploit the local quarries to a maximum. One million m³ of sand and gravel will be needed, which will literally mean the disappearance of whole mountains! The vast platforms of concrete (nearly a hectare in size) will reduce the body of water in the harbour. The wonderful view from the old town of Eivissa, a World Heritage Site, will be marred by a mass of concrete. In the longer term, the government plans to build an access road to the new port premises through or near to an important wet-land area known as Ses Feixes. Curiously enough, the Spanish government itself has admitted that the harbour will no longer be considered 100% safe as it is at present, since the concrete docks and platforms will make the port more vulnerable to southerly winds. This host of negative effects are what the government is promoting as sustainable!
We are in time to stop this project but we need your help.
Help us save the Neptune grass. Help us save Eivissa. Send your protest now!