We interview Inmaculada Saranova de Martín

IbizaPreservation’s Sustainability Observatory Technical Coordinator. 

Hello Inma, could you give us some general brushstrokes about yourself?

I have a quite versatile professional profile. On the one hand, it’s related with communication, since I have a degree in journalism and I am technical engineer in image. On the other, it is related to a more social and academic vocation, since I am a Doctor in Development Cooperation and I am specialized in migratory movements.

And you are also IbizaPreservation’s Sustainability Observatory Technical Coordinator. How do all these profiles come together?

Well, precisely as coordinator I combine these two aspects, the communicative and the social one. Through the research work we do within the Sustainability Observatory, each year we publish a report in order to improve the knowledge about the current state of sustainability of the island of Ibiza. Basically we collect information that is generally scattered and difficult to access, and then analyze and study this data. This is how we can identify and quantify the main socio-environmental problems of the island of Ibiza and  communicate the results by drawing up a system of sustainability indicators, as well through annual reports. The main goal is to encourage public debate and to promote the implementation of solutions to the problems detected.

What sustainability indicators do you work with?

The Observatory published the first annual report in 2018. This year, unlike previous reports, the 2019 report has focused on monitoring compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 within the 2030 Agenda. That is why this 2019 report has been adapted to those indicators with the aim of selecting objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals that have a direct impact on the island of Ibiza. We have developed 67 indicators framed in 13 of the 17 SDGs: those where it is possible and pertinent to monitor the fulfillment of the 33 selected long term goals.

According to this latest report, where would the island of Ibiza be?

2019 has registered improvements in sustainability, but Ibiza is still far from meeting the United Nations goals for 2030.

Some of the data that leads to these conclusions have to do with water. Precisely taking advantage of the elebration of World Oceans Day, from
the Observatory you warned that the Ibiza’s beaches bathing water quality has been gradually decreasing between 2010 and 2019 according to data collected by the Ibiza and Formentera Water Alliance. What is the major problem according to your studies?

In 2010 all the waters analyzed were classified as “excellent”; but last year, there were only 31 water sampling points that reached this quality, 24.4% less than in 2010. This means that in 2019 Ibiza presented 76% of excellent water. Regarding to fecal waste contamination, in the 41 individual samplings carried out on the beaches of Ibiza during 2019, 6 showed values of contamination by fecal bacteria higher than those legally permitted. The decrease in the quality of Ibiza’s beaches bathing water show an insufficiency of infrastructures, that are unable to cope with the increase in human pressure registered on the island during summer periods. This is why maintain both, marine ecosystem heath and to protect the health of people, Sustainability Observatory is committed to promote the improvement of sanitation and purification of the water,and keeping a strict vigilance through water quality controls.

Regarding marine habitats, the Sustainability Observatory has found that the information on the state of conservation of these habitats in Ibiza is not as good as it should be, especially in relation with Posidonia. Which are your proposals to preserve our marine treasures?

During the last summer seasons, there has been an increase of recreational boats anchoring on Ibiza’s coasts, this activity puts at stake our Posidonia meadows. Precisely, during 2019 Ibiza has been the Balearic Island with the highest number of inspections per boat (10,640) done by theBalearic Environment Counsel’s Posidonia surveillance service (Conselleria de Medi Ambient Balear). Only 7.4% of these anchoring was declared illegal, meaning an important improvement of the control system. Ibiza is the island with the fewest ecological buoys of the Balearic Islands, and in 2019 this type of buoys has decreased in comparison with 2018. We believe it is necessary to increase this type of buoys and not to keep guard on boats inspections.

In terms of biodiversity we have good news, Ibiza has registered a very significant improvement related to species richness, since the latest available data show that the Freus Marine Reserve of Ibiza and Formentera has now the highest number of species in all Balearic Marine Protected Areas. These data reveal that this Marine Reserve and its fisheries management have reached the so-called ‘reserve effect’, meaning that the recovery of exploited species begins to be proportional to the years under management.

One United Nations goals, framed in the SDG, aims to double agricultural productivity and the incomes of smallscale food producers by 2030. At what point are we in Ibiza regarding these objectives?

We are at a critical point, although it is true that the upward trend of organic farming on the island, a positive fact thanks to the 10.6% increase in the number of operators registered in 2019 compared to 2018. On the other side of the balance in agricultural matters, it is observed that the primary sector on the island is in clear decline, especially in relation with livestock, which has registered a very significant decrease during the last years. This is the case of sheep livestock, between 2018 and 2019 has decreased 45.7%.

And in terms of consumption and recycling, how would you rate the situation in Ibiza according to your information?

Even though in 2019, for the first time in ten years, the amount of domestic waste decreased in relation to the previous year, this decrease was only of -0.13%. Right now, Ibiza is far from complying with SDG 12 in terms of reducing waste production. Since 2010 till 2019, waste generation per person per year in the island has increased by 22%. Although, a good news is that regarding the selective collection of waste has followed an upward trend since 2009, going from around 10,000 tons in 2009 to almost 25,000 in 2019.

This trend is positive, but it should be noted that in 2019 only 7.1% of household waste was recycled on the island, a percentage far from the 50% by 2021 established by the Balearic Islands Law on contaminated waste and soil. As we can see, there is still a lot of work to do.

Thank you very much Inma for this interesting conversation and for explaining us the real situation on the island. I hope reading this interview might help some way to aware about the importance of preserving our home, Ibiza.

Many thanks to AARTI for sharing the results of this report and for working through your pages to improve the sustainability of the island of Ibiza.


Sustainability Observatory



* Photograph by Jon Izeta

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