This week we had the pleasure of catching up with Sandra Benbeniste from the Ibiza Preservation Fund. The IPF carries out some really important work in protecting the local environment, all funded by donations from the public. Save Ibiza fully supports the initiatives and hard work from the IPF and related NGO’s here in Ibiza, read on to find out more and look out for upcoming monthly updates:

Hi Sandra, great seeing you again and a big welcome from the Save Ibiza community. Please give us a description of the IPF and your role?

The Ibiza Preservation Fund aims at protecting the natural beauty and environmental value of Ibiza and Formentera. We focus our work mainly in projects related to the protection of the sea and the landscape, as well as sustainable management of water and the promotion of renewable energy.

My role as managing director is to find and monitor the best local environmental projects that we can support, as well as putting together some initiatives when there is no initial local leadership, such as the Mar Blava and Water Alliances. My job is also to fundraise for resources that will support this very needed environmental work.

posidonia

What are the most pressing environmental issues in Ibiza at the moment and how can locals and visitors play their part in relieving these issues?

At the moment the most pressing environmental issues are freshwater and sea protection. Regarding water, any resident and visitor can play their part by being aware that it is a scarce and precious resource. We have developed water saving tips as part of a joint campaign from the Alianza por el Agua www.alianzaaguaibizaformentera.org 

As for the sea, we all need to understand the importance of posidonia, a plant that is responsible for the quality and transparency of our waters. Boats should never throw their anchors on it, but look for sandy spots instead, nor their dirty waters less than 12 miles away from the shore (ideally they should be emptied at the facilities provided at the harbour). And of course we should all be aware that any plastic or cigarette buds at the sea or beach take hundreds of years to disappear…

Are there any projects that the IPF are involved in that you’d like to highlight?

One example of project that has been successful is the Alliance anti Oil Drilling. We managed to invite different stakeholders to sit around the same table (tourist operators, NGOs, local government representatives, etc.), some of whom had never talked to each other. Initially everybody thought nothing could be done to stop the oil drilling projects, but by joining efforts we have managed to lobby and succeed in having Cairn Energy withdrawing from the Gulf of Valencia.  There is another project that could be open for allegations at any moment, from Spectrum, and we are ready to keep our fight. At the same time, to be coherent, we are promoting renewable energy as an alternative to oil.

And finally, what does Ibiza mean to you?

Ibiza is the island I have spent all my vacations since I was a baby, as my grandfather decided to build a house here in the 60’s. It is deeply in my heart. I have seen how hotels and apartments overdeveloped some of my favourite beaches, and how the growing number of tourists and residents are challenging many of the local resources. But I always see the glass half full, and I know there is a lot that we can all do to help preserve its beauty and natural value. We need your help!

For more information visit www.ibizapreservationfund.org

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