Local Daily News 10th September
Pilar de la Horadada asks greenhouses to remove plastic waste due to the risk of another DANA
The Pilar de la Horadada City Council has published a statement to ask the local agricultural sector with farms under plastic coverings to take extreme measures to eliminate all waste from the greenhouse covers, and even have them removed due to the risk of torrential rains. In Pilar de la Horadada 500 hectares are in use as greenhouses with plastic coverings, 90% of which are devoted to the production of export peppers. The rest are mainly dedicated to floriculture. It is an area of intensive cultivation that has its continuity, without distinction of municipal or regional limits, in San Javier and San Pedro del Pinatar (Murcia).
The City Council asks that farmers ensure waste does not accumulate in rainwater evacuation areas with a double objective: to avoid the obstruction of the rainwater outlet by valleys, ravines and boulevards, and on the other, to prevent the plastic from ending up in the sea, as a pollutant.
An intensive greenhouse agriculture facility requires a minimum of 250 grams of plastic per square meter – it depends on the temperature conditions required inside the patches of land. The material deteriorates over a period of time and is usually renewed every three years. Maintenance is carried out between September and November, months in which the campaign occasionally ends, and that also leaves remains of irrigation pipes and many plastic containers on the roads. The investment in greenhouses and localized irrigation allows this area to develop very productive agriculture: between 9 and 11 kilos of red, yellow, green and orange peppers per square meter per year. Hence the statement from the City Council, because the renovation of plastics and cleaning of land coincides with the period of greatest risk of torrential rains. At the same time, they have also requested to plan the fertilizer and irrigation tasks based on the weather forecasts.
Before he took office in 2019, the mayor José María Pérez was a floriculturist businessman, and explained that the Local Police who ensure security in the field throughout the year to prevent theft are also aware of enforcing the Council’s requests. Pérez explained that waste management has been perfected since the municipality dedicated itself to greenhouse production in the early 1980s with the arrival of the Tajo-Segura transfer and now there are companies specialized in collection and disposal contracted by farmers. Almost all waste is removed, but not all.
The DANA of September 2019 caused flooding in Pilar de la Horadada. La Rambla, which crosses the urban area, flooded the underground tunnel of the Alicante-Cartagena highway in its final section, where several vehicles were trapped – the rescues were carried out with jet skis. The dragging effect of the water washed away rural roads and isolated several inhabited areas scattered around the post-Tajo-Segura channel.
Hospitals in the province of Alicante treat cases of suicide attempts of 13-year-old children
Suicides and suicide attempts in younger children are the effects that a year and a half of pandemic has had on the mental health of adolescents, the first to suffer all the consequences of the months of isolation and quarantine, the fear of being infected and the pain of having lost a loved one to the virus.
“We are struck by the increase in suicide attempts and especially the decline in age. Before, we treated cases in young people aged 18 and up and now we are assisting very young boys and girls, 13 or 14 years old, who have to be admitted to the ICU due to the seriousness of the injuries they present,” says Enrique Pérez, head of Psychiatry at the General Hospital of Alicante. The pandemic is affecting young people in such a way that even professionals who have always been at the forefront of this type of problem are surprised. “As in the previous economic crisis, we expected that adults would be the first to suffer the consequences, but this has not been the case. Perhaps due to financial aid the impact on workers has not been so strong. On the contrary, it is in the young people where all the problems are emerging,” explains Pérez.
The latest available data on suicides were provided a few weeks ago by Rafael Tabarés, the new commissioner of mental health of the Generalitat Valenciana. In 2019 there were 445 deaths by suicide in the Valencian Community and in 2020, 430. Despite this slight decrease, when looking at the age ranges, it is clear that the number of young people who take their own lives has increased by 30%. Between the ages of 20 and 39, deaths have risen from 57 to 82 in 2020.
To search for data referring to the province of Alicante, you have to go to the National Institute of Statistics, which offers numbers between January and May 2020. In those five months, 56 people took their lives in the province. Of these, 20 were under 50 years of age and suicide led the way in deaths from causes other than illness. At this time in the province, more people under the age of 50 die from taking their own lives than in traffic accidents.
In entities such as the Telephone of Hope, the assistance offered related to suicide has increased by 26% compared to 2019, before the pandemic. More women than men are being helped, with most aged between 30 and 45.
Hospital emergency services are the first to face this increase in problems. “In the first waves of the pandemic we did not notice it so much, because people were afraid to leave their homes and go to the sanitary facilities, but now we are witnessing an increase in cases of minor symptoms, such as depression and self-harm”, points out Javier Millán, president of the Valencian Society of Emergency Medicine. Millán recalls that a suicide prevention plan has been operating in the Valencian Community for a few years. The objective is that, in these cases, a psychiatrist can evaluate the patient in the shortest possible time.
The pandemic has triggered not only suicides and suicide attempts among young people, but also cases of depression, anxiety and eating disorders. All this is being faced by a health network that was already insufficient before the pandemic and that is now totally overwhelmed by the situation. There are delays of months for appointments with the psychologist and psychiatrist.
The province only has eight beds in Orihuela to admit minors with mental health problems, which forces professionals to delay hospital admission, with the risk that this entails. There are also no day hospitals in the province for minors with these types of problems and although the Generalitat Valenciana has promised that at the end of the year the construction of one of these centers per province begins, the truth is that nothing is known yet.
Benidorm will review its municipal plan against homophobia
In the midst of a wave of homophobic attacks in different parts of Spain, the Department of Social Welfare of the Benidorm City Council has announced this Thursday the start of work to prepare the II Municipal Plan for the LGTBI+ group of Benidorm with the launch of a questionnaire in Spanish, Valencian and English. It is a diagnostic process with the aim of detecting the needs and establishing a plan for the next four years, according to the statement made this Thursday by Councilor Angela Llorca, who stressed that the City Council “continues to work to give visibility to the diversity and defend LGTBI+ rights, as has been developed in the first Plan in 2016”.
In order to plan the actions to “promote, defend and guarantee equal rights and freedoms, as well as the social recognition of this group”, the City Council wants to involve the population and LGTBI+ associations in community participation.
For this, an anonymous online questionnaire prepared in Spanish, Valencian and English is launched, which will serve to complete the first phase, that of the diagnosis, of the aforementioned II LGTBI+ Municipal Plan.
From the answers, the statistics that reflect the current starting situation that the group finds themselves in in Benidorm will be extracted.
Llorca has encouraged citizens, local associations, young people, educational centers, health centers, justice and public security professionals to “participate by answering the questionnaire that will only take five minutes.”
The work areas of the II LGTBI+ Municipal Plan will be the following: Municipal Organization Area, Education, Awareness and Prevention Area, Comprehensive Health and Social Intervention Area, Participation Area, Safety and Integrity Area and City Area.
Here you can find the questionnaire:
The rehabilitation of the Orihuela City Council headquarters begins in the Marqués de Arneva Palace
The rehabilitation works of the Orihuela town hall headquarters, Palacio de Marqués de Arneva, started yesterday, Thursday the 9th of September. This historic building also suffered significant damage due to the DANA two years ago, mainly due to the rains that caused leaks and floods in different parts, affecting facilities and, in some points, the structure.
The palace, which is practically completely vacated, will be under construction for 6 months. The cost of this intervention will be financed 50% by the Orihuela City Council and the rest by the Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function through the call for DANA Urgent Measures Grants for Public Buildings. Orihuela submitted an application for the building with a Memory of Damages and Budget, which was approved by the Ministry on the 17th of November, 2020.
While the works last, the affected municipal areas have been transferred to different areas and buildings. Hacienda will be in the premises of Plaza Balaguer, old Caixa; Mayor’s Office, IT, Markets and Modernization has moved to the offices of the CAM Foundation; and Human Resources to the municipal offices in the Palacio del Agua.
The intervention project includes, on the ground floor, the improvement and reinforcement of the structure, resin injections in wall bases, reinforcement of floors, stitching of fissures and cracks, repair of water entry points, roof repairs, sanitation of basements, replacement of low voltage installations, air conditioning and communications and, on the first floor, repair of exterior carpentry and painting, among other things.
The building of the Palacio de Marqués de Arneva was built in the 18th century, with slight reforms between the 19th and early 20th centuries. From 1973 it underwent internal remodeling to adapt it to its new function as Town Hall. During the years 1990 to 1991 it was partially restored. In 2000 the roofs were restored, some rooms on the first floor were restored and the second floor was completely renovated. The property is included in the Catalog of Protectable Elements of the P.G.O.U. of Orihuela with the 2nd degree of protection and nº 95 in the catalogue.
Hotel occupancy in Elche reached 91% in August despite the cancelling of fiestas
August showed good data for the hotel sector in Elche as an occupancy of 91% was reached despite the fact that there was no festive pull due to the suspension of practically all activities due to the pandemic. National tourism more than made up for the problems that international tourism has had to the point that the percentage remains only half a point lower than the 2019 figure, which was 91.5%, explains the Association of Tourist Companies of Elche (AETE). In July, occupancy was 79.5%.
“This good occupation data is also accompanied by an improvement in profitability. For the second consecutive month, the average price per room is above the equivalent of 2019. Thus, August has achieved 67.66 euros, while August 2019 was satisfied with 65.83 euros, that is, 1.83 euros more per night and room”, they explain from the association, which has been due to “the recovery of prices in coastal destinations”, which has resulted in greater profitability in Elche. On the weekends, the majority of the hotel establishments reached full occupancy and also the passage of La Vuelta through the province has proven very helpful.
With respect to September, the forecasts are more modest, due, on the one hand, to the end of the holidays for national customers, which has been the predominant group throughout the year.