Essay by hecticlebHigh School, 10th gradeB, August 2005

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The island of La Palma is in a privileged situation if we consider it as a whole. It has a series of aspects, values and natural, economic and social resources, such as its extraordinary natural landscape of great beauty and with a wealth of bio-diversity that underpin its privileged position. It also has a pleasant climate that supports a highly productive agricultural sector, although there are question marks about its future. This is important because it means that the local economy is not soley dependent on tourism, but does have the conditions to attract a more select type of tourism in search of something different, charming and of great beauty.

Situated in the N.W. of the Canary Island chain, La Palma is a mountainous island (max. Altitude of 2,500 m.) covering a surface area of 700 Km2 and with a population of 80,000 inhabitants.

Waste management in La Palma is at present a serious obstacle to guaranteeing, both now and in the future, a minimum level of balanced and sustained development in accordance with its resources and potential.

Perhaps the most urgent requirement for achieving sustained development in La Palma is to make a drastic correction to the current state of waste management, undoubtedly the main environmental problem the island faces, and recognised as such by both the island authorities and society in general.

An island with all the territorial, economic, social and environmental parameters mentioned above, is an appropriate framework for applying the most advanced waste management policies, with all their consequences: prevention, selective collection and maximum re-use of waste, by integrating these policies in the island economy and society.

Reducing waste generation to a minimum is essential for two reasons on an island as small as La Palma and as far away from re-cycling centres: on the one...