I was wandering around the Internet and came across this: ‘Recycling is a lie. Plastic manufacturers spent $1B to make you think it’s working’. The article says that recycling campaigns are designed purely to sell more plastic.
To solve the problem of the plastic trash, a dilemma we all accept is nothing short of dreadful, why, we just sort our trash into different containers, and voilà, the plastic trash is taken to a special place, where – we hope – it will be recycled into another bottle, plate, packaging material or (if its lucky), maybe a ball-point pen.
Nat Geo says that a million plastic bottles are sold every minute in the entire world.
Wikipedia says that ‘plastic recycling is the processing of plastic waste into other products. Recycling can reduce dependence on landfill, conserve resources and protect the environment from plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions’.
Plastic is used in 50,000 different products, says Consumo Claro, and it’s usually made to be sturdy – after all, no one wants their shampoo bottle suddenly melting on the shelf.
However, most of it, the sources above agree, simply isn’t recycled. We are fed a fantasy about how the manufacturers are working to clean the planet (and only the irresponsible consumers are failing by not putting their emptied water bottles into the big yellow bell). In short, around 9% of single-use plastic is recycled worldwide – the rest isn’t. The first thing to know is that recycling isn’t easy (there are many different types of plastic which need different processes), and secondly – it’s a lot cheaper just to make some more out of its base materials: crude oil, cellulose, coal, salt and natural gas.
Here in Spain, according to El País, we’ve been bucking the numbers, with 51.5% recycled. This may be, reading between the lines, that just over half of all of our plastic waste finds its way into recycling bins, although that too seems unlikely. Or perhaps the figure comes from the plastic recovered from the bins. Then it would be sorted into its different base components? Greenpeace is less sanguine, and reckons it’s nearer 30% recycled.
I wonder, do we care that our bottle of pop is made from recycled plastic – and do we wonder from what purpose exactly did the recycled plastic fulfil in its earlier incarnation?
Here in Almería, surrounded by the invernaderos, the plastic farms that provide all those fresh fruit and veggies, the discarded plastic (it’ll last for around five seasons) is almost all successfully recycled (says the official fruit n’ veg association). Maybe.
But not everybody else is quite as responsible.
Those tiny grains of plastic in the sea; those rotting sheets of it lying in the empty ramblas; the endless number of plastic bags, juice cartons and water bottles in the countryside; the huge piles of plastic waste in the dumps – which often end up as landfill or (in some terrible and completely unforeseen accident) on fire.
We could ease our dependence on plastic, with paper, cardboard, metal or glass (all easily recycled), but the industry has other ideas; and money talks – Hell, even when it’s plastic.
From RTVE here (with video), ‘The north – climate refuge: the purchase of houses in Galicia is up by 30%. Foreign investors include the French, Dutch and Germans who are thinking about their retirement’. Daily blogger Colin Davies lives in Pontevedra (Galicia) and can tell you what it’s like up there – although his Wednesday post is a bit off-putting: ‘In summer, Spaniards make for the emerald-hued countryside and white-sand beaches of the north – Galicia is a favourite. Here the weather is more changeable, but with temperatures in the 20s, it can be a good 10 degrees cooler than on the coast further south. But it’s all a lie, put out by the Galician Tourist Board. It was 35 here yesterday. And, when it’s not that hot, it rains every single day’ (Heh!).
From Cinco Días here: ‘By 2033, 80% of all buildings currently standing will have to be rehabilitated before being available for rent or for sale. Each home will need an Energy Efficiency Certificate equal to or greater than the letter D, (which few Spanish buildings possess) according to a new directive that is being negotiated in the European Union’.
‘One in every four new jobs created in the economy is linked to tourism’ says La Moncloa here. ‘Tourism employment in the second quarter of 2023 reached 2,864,776 employees, which represents an increase of 5.4% compared to the same period in 2022 and 6.3% more than in 2019, according to data published today by Turespaña. (Thanks to Antonio).
What with the heat and all, 20Minutos confirms that many Spaniards are heading to the cooler north this summer. Their headline: 'Tourist boom in northern Spain: Spaniards rush to Cantabria due to the southern heat waves’.
Ryanair, Vueling, easyJet and Volotea are all facing an investigation and possible fines for charging passengers extra for hand luggage says El Diario de Mallorca here.
The oddly-named Reasons to Be Cheerful brings us ‘Barcelona’s ‘bold strategy’ to quell the Tourism Crisis. The Catalan city is making big moves to get visitation and its impacts under control — and other European destinations are taking action, too’. We read that ‘…Barcelona, a city of 1.6 million residents, received over 20 million visitors in 2019. It is on the frontlines of a global crisis of unsustainable, rapidly rising tourism that is inflating house prices and overloading transport networks and services like waste management, producing trash, noise and air pollution and eroding the fundamental sense of community — all the while based on a volatile sector reliant on low-paid labour…’
From elDiario.es here, we find that it’s not only Barcelona: ‘Tourism in Santiago de Compostela (Galicia), between the threat of collapse and the rhetoric of the millionth visitor. The influx of visitors to the city continues to increase and stresses coexistence with residents, the new local government is looking for ways to change the model but the Xunta de Galicia believes that there is still room for more’. The money they bring, of course: ‘"Talking now about excessive numbers and the risk of turismofobia is something that we cannot allow in Galicia," warned the President of the Xunta, Alfonso Rueda, in a recent comment…’
And in Madrid, too… From El País here (or here): ‘Touristification - Madrileños fed up with tourists are leaving the centre: "We have lost", they say’.
Which brings us to the Diario de Mallorca here: ‘Saturation in Mallorca: Germany questions whether the end of the Mallorcan dream has arrived’. Besides the overcrowding, there is concern about the swing to the right in local politics and, of course, the blistering heat. German speakers may prefer the original found at Stern here.
From Público: ‘The mantra that the most voted list govern: the PP holds more than 200 town halls where it is not the party with the most councillors. Across Spain there are 684 municipalities where the party that holds the mayoralty was not the most voted in the last municipal elections on May 28’.
Alberto Núñez Feijóo has a tough time persuading any minority party to back his bid to be president precisely because the PP is seen to be joined at the hip to Vox. To help things along, Vox has now stated that it won’t be making any demands on the PP in exchange for its full backing – not even asking for positions within a future PP government. El Mundo has the story here as does 20Minutos here, noting that ‘Vox hopes to avoid "a government made to include the enemies of Spain"’. Quite.
With all the excitement of the PP searching for allies, the PSOE is remaining quiet for the present.
From Politico here: ‘Spain’s political future will be decided by one secluded man in a damp corner of Belgium. Six years after organizing an illegal referendum that sought to make Catalonia an independent republic, the region’s former President Carles Puigdemont is once again positioned to shake Spain to its core. With left and right-wing forces technically tied in the Spanish parliament, the country’s next government now depends on the support of seven lawmakers of the separatist Junts per Catalunya party — which Puigdemont founded and controls remotely…’
From El Mundo here: ‘Iván Espinosa de los Monteros leaves Vox and Santiago Abascal will need to reorganize the party. The spokesman in Congress says he is dismayed by the recent general election results (Vox lost 19 deputies) and by his distancing from the party's leadership’. Elsewhere, we read that Espinosa ‘comes from the liberal wing of Vox’.
Podemos has all but disappeared. 20Minutos writes of the rise and fall of the ‘morados’ (the party colour is purple). It says that the party began in 2014 with the general indignation following the financial crisis of the time. Now it has begun massive staff layoffs.
From La Sexta here: ‘PP and Vox agree in Aragón to repeal the law of historic memory, to apply the parental veto and to promote public-private healthcare’.
‘The PP grants the maximum salary of €68,171 to four Vox Valencia city hall councillors in exchange for keeping them out of government’. Al Descubierto has the story.
The Guardian on inflation here: The British Government seems to be claiming that it’s winning the fight against inflation. But we are not out of the woods yet. Inflation currently is still far too high and the Bank of England increased rates again to 5.25% last Thursday while lowering its growth forecast. But it doesn’t have to be like this. The case of Spain is a great counter-example. Its inflation has just fallen to the 2% target. How is it that it has already achieved this important milestone? ...’
20Minutos warns of the expansion of the black fly (wiki) in Spain, an insect that could lead to hospitalization’. This kind of miniature fly chews rather than siphons, leaving a wound which can itch for several days. Ice or a corticoid cream are recommended – and don’t scratch!
A study of the rise in minimum temperatures at elDiario.es has several graphics of interest. It says in part (those living on the Mediterranean coast take note), ‘…the correlation between the temperature of the sea surface, which in 2023 is pulverizing records with marine heat waves in both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and the night temperature in the summer, is very high. "The air glides over a very warm sea, so that it not only acquires its temperature, but is loaded with humidity," explains a spokesperson for the AEMET. And that humidity carries a greater risk since it multiplies the harmful effects of heat on health’.
A bogus shipment company was selling customer items in Valencia, says The Olive Press here. The item doesn’t name the company, which apparently operated out of a mixture between fantasy and Facebook. It says the Guardia found a warehouse where ‘a large amount of’ goods were being sold off piecemeal.
The Digital News Report 2023 (From the University of Navarra) here: ‘Journalism faces the challenges of trust and interest in the face of new benchmarks’. Conclusions on the state of the media and the confidence of the Spanish news-consuming public.
A powerful video from the comic Miguel Charisteas. Should the PP be illegalised for its rampant corruption?
An illuminating piece at Thread Reader regards the way that the media has made poverty somehow genteel – by using English neologisms. Thus, if you can’t afford a holiday, then choose a ‘staycation’. (‘Quedarse en casa en agosto durante las vacaciones es cada vez más ‘cool’’ says La Vanguardia). Can’t afford to go out at all? Then you are ‘nesting’ (says El País). ‘Coliving’ – is, after all, a nice word for sharing. ‘Treinteenagers’ and ‘batch cooking’ and how about ‘freeganismo’ (this last means eating out of dustbins)? There are others too…
From Sur in English here: ‘Last month was the hottest July in Málaga and on the Costa del Sol since records began in 1942. The average temperature recorded at the official AEMET weather station at Málaga Airport was 29.5C, some 3.4 degrees higher than normal’. The current heat-wave is called ‘el infierno ibérico’ by the media. Hot as Hell!
The Canal Sur weatherman is Carlos Almansa, who, after delivering the weather for Andalucía on Monday, said this on live television: “One more episode of heat. You can be sure that, sooner or later, we will end up extinct, but it is not something that is going to happen imminently” (with video).
‘More than 400,000 people from Málaga with restricted water due to the inaction of the regional president Moreno Bonilla. The Junta secured the investments to maintain the supply, but they have not arrived’. From El Plural here. The El Viñuela reservoir is particularly low says the article.
‘An excess of pesticides leaves 161 towns in Salamanca and Zamora without drinking water. The La Almendra reservoir registers contamination above the limit set by Europe at the beginning of the year. The Salamanca Provincial Council alleges lack of time to adapt to the norm’. Item from El País here or here.
‘Wild boars invade Spanish beaches: "The species is proliferating in significant numbers". The mayor of San Pedro de Alcántara (Málaga) says that this problem affects the entire Mediterranean coast’. Item from 20Minutos here.
From Royal Central here: ‘How Spain’s heir, Princess Leonor, will make history as she begins military training’. We read that ‘Princess Leonor will enter the General Military Academy of Zaragoza on 17 August to start her training in the Spanish Armed Forces. Leonor joins the academy just weeks after graduating from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales. While most who attend the General Military Academy are enrolled for two years, the Princess will only train for one year in the subjects of Military Training, Tactics and Logistics, Weapons Systems, CBRN Defence, Topography, Leadership, Law or Army History. She will graduate with the rank of Dame-Cadet…’
Infobae brings us ‘All the free museums you can visit in Madrid and when to go. From the Prado to the Reina Sofía Museum, discover the best art without spending a single euro’. (Thanks Jake).
El Español introduces us to the Bronze Age warrior civilization El Argar, with video, here. There’s an interesting exhibition of the Argar and Los Millares (a nearby settlement) at the Museo de Arqueólogico de Almeria (wiki).
The Collector returns with more posters and photographs from the Spanish Civil War here.
Celia Muñoz has an odd talent, here on YouTube.
From BBC Travel here: ‘The Lighthouse Way: Walking Spain's 'other' camino. Few know about the vastly more-meditative, nearby Camino dos Faros, or Lighthouse Way, along the wild and deserted Finisterre coast that's known as "the end of the earth"’.
A post-prandial glass of Pacharán (wiki) will cure any illness (well, apart from gout, of course), says an article regarding the many wonders of Navarra at Eye on Spain here.
Hi Lenox, many thanks for this latest. No red warning so far.
Gmail and Yahoo work well for me. Outlook used to be bound to a single laptop or desktop machine which is no good if you're on the move or switching devices. I daresay this has long since changed. Michael Quoting Colin Davies, who had read an early version of this week’s editorial:
‘On this theme, a visiting friend and I yesterday chatted about how our families managed with just one (metal) bin a week when we were kids. For one thing, there was a lot less plastic. And bottles were used and re-used, via a deposit scheme. Paper and cardboard were kept for fire-lighting. In effect, we treated the planet better before we even thought about the need to do so. Ironically.’
Relax with Guitarra Azul and Arco on YouTube here.