Fly-tippers not welcome in rural Mallorca

Our concrete water storage tank – or depósito – has a new metal lid. The previous one was rather ancient and the metal around the edge was literally fraying. It had become so ill-fitting that it recently fell down into the water tank itself, and the sharp edges pierced the plastic lining. Yes, more expense, for a repair.

A new lid was required and we headed to a small metalworking firm we’ve used before in Manacor. It’s not exactly on the beaten track, this place, but it always seems to be busy – which, in our books, is a good sign. The company delivered our new galvanized steel lid and frame last month. It’s been so well made that it’s a shame that only The Boss, Jaume the water delivery man, and birds passing overhead will ever get to cast their eyes on its artisan workmanship.

A job with a view 

The unusually wet November meant that The Boss wasn’t able to cement the new lid into place but, on Sunday, he set about the task with zeal. This was one job he was more than ready to cross off his ‘to do’ list; when the colder weather comes, standing on the top of our water tank – exposed to the north wind whipping up our valley – is not the place to while away any amount of time.

“It’s like being on the roof of the world up there,” he said, when he popped back to the house for our mid-morning caffeine fix. The view is pretty amazing, stretching right across the valley.

While he was working, The Boss had heard the sound of a vehicle slowing and stopping in the lane, by the holm oak tree at the corner of our land. It’s not a place you’d expect anyone to stop and, last time it had happened, we’d later found a tiny ginger kitten that had been dumped, so The Boss went to investigate. This vehicle was an elderly battered white furgoneta (van) with a Madrid registration, but there wasn’t a sign of the driver. A few minutes later, a short Moroccan man with a weathered face emerged like Indiana Jones from the dense forest of wild olive and mastic – to find The Boss waiting for an explanation as to why he was wandering around our land.

Man on a mission

The stranger said he was a qualified builder but couldn’t find a job, so had been reduced to driving around the countryside searching for scrap metal and other junk that he could sell. He told The Boss that an area of our land (almost inaccessible on foot to all but the determined, or desperate) had been a popular fly-tipping spot for years, although sadly – but only from his point of view – it seemed to have lost its appeal.

When we first moved here we realized that people had been stopping in the lane and hefting anything from old tyres to empty bottles into the undergrowth below. To this day, there are some old tyres in a particularly inaccessible location, in the deepest part of our small-valley-within-the-larger-valley. We even once saw something down there that resembled some unwanted sheep shearings in an old sack. Fortunately, since we’ve been in residence, fewer people are using our land as their dumping ground of choice, but fly-tipping in general is still a problem – and one that’s guaranteed to raise my hackles. There are plenty of places these days for the legitimate disposal of rubbish, so there’s really no excuse for littering the countryside of this beautiful island of Mallorca.

On that particular Sunday, pickings had been slim for the foraging Moroccan, but we had some rubbish of our own for disposal. The Boss  suggested that it would be a good idea in future to ask permission before venturing forth onto other people’s property, then, indicating the old metal storage tank lid, asked him in Spanish “Is this any good to you?”

Despite the poor state of the redundant lid, the man’s leathery face pleated into a toothy grin. One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure – although I doubt he’d have made enough money selling that old thing to cover the cost of the fuel used for his foray into the countryside.

'Tyred' of fly-tipping

‘Tyred’ of fly-tipping

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2 thoughts on “Fly-tippers not welcome in rural Mallorca

  1. Our oldest son has a pet peeve and that is that on one section of the big beautiful river down the road from us people dump trash, tires, even old sofas or appliances over the riverbank. In those places the trash is not visible as one drives by. But….if you are an avid fisherman as he is, and you float by on your raft while fishing, you can see it all!
    He maintains that he knows which “lowlife” faction does the dumping (specifically the beer bottles which are found at fishing spots.) Dear son claims he picks up riverside trash all the time when he is fishing. I do wish there was a really effective way to raise the consciousness level, though, and stop this uncaring behavior. The truth is, this has been going on for generations and generations. One has to pay to leave the trash at the county dump so for some, it’s easier to just “dump” it where nobody will catch you. I remember when I was a little girl seeing people throw trash out their car windows onto the side of the road. Then in the 60’s the “Don’t be a Litterbug” campaign started in the US. Now at least conscientious people never litter and various organizations “adopt a mile” of road and clean it up regularly.

    • Yes, my pet peeve too. I just cannot understand the mentality of someone wanting to spoil beautiful surroundings why littering them. I guess if one has to pay to take trash to the county dump, it could be a problem for those with little money. But here there’s no charge to take things to the refuse parks – just the cost of the fuel to drive there. Until recently there was a huge pile of junk – including old fridges and other domestic equipment – dumped on a piece of land on the side of the Manacor to Palma road. It was such an eyesore and surely didn’t impress the coachloads of tourists who would have
      travelled that road on their way to their holiday resorts. Thankfully it’s been cleared – but I wonder how long it will be before someone starts dumping there again.

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