Drought in Mallorca
Europe's prime holiday destination, Mallorca, suffers the consequences of mass tourism.
Mallorca has been flooded by 8 million tourists in 1999. The yearly increment of two percent tourists is equivalent to a increment of eight percent garbage and eight percent more used water. Due to the heaviest draught in 50 years last summer after a winter with no rain, 70 percent of grain, 90 percent of animal fodder and almost the whole almond harvest were lost.
But 80 percent of the national income is earned through tourism. Empty swimming pools, dry showers and yellow lawns could harm the economy of the island. The per capita daily use of water is about 300 liters, that is in comparison more than double what a person in Germany uses." There are no exact statistics where the water really goes as farmers, hotels and golf courses pump up the groundwater from thousands of legal and illegal wells all over the island.
Additionally there is a severe garbage problem. Until the mid-nineties the garbage was burried everywhere without any plan. Now there is a combustion plan in San Reus, in the North of Palma, that reduces the tons of garbage but pollutes and poisons the air with gases and ashes. For these reasons the inhabitants were strongly protesting against this plan.
Two years ago the government has been changed, Nicolau Barcelo, who is now responsible for the garbage problem comes up with a recycling plan for glass and paper. In the year 2002 the plant for biological degradation will be ready. But where to put the old cars and car tires is still not solved. Mallorca with its 600 000 inhabitants is flooded by 400 000 cars, including 60 000 rental cars. Most of the tourists rent a car right after leaving their planes. Palma di Mallorca has the highest rate of cars per capita in the whole of Spain. Additionally to the pollution there are constant traffic jams.
The only way to save Mallorcas environmental problems would be a decrease of tourists by 30 percent. This seems illusive as long as there is sun and cheap beer.