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Rubbish, sorry recycling, is the new buzz word in Puerto de la Cruz 

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This month, rubbish is once again the main topic of my column. I know, I can hear the groans already, but it is not my fault.

This time the blame lies with the ayuntamiento. Besides, it is August, the month where very little happens, so I am grateful for any subject that crops up, which I feel is worthy of comment.

And for once when I say blame I am not finding fault, as I normally do, no this time the Ayuntamiento could be doing something right, at least, on the face of it. Since joining a quango of likeminded European councils, whose mandate is ‘how best to deal with rubbish in tourist towns and cites’, it seems to me that rubbish is Puerto’s new buzz word of the moment. Rubbish! I must stop calling it that, because, of course, what I am really talking about is recycling.

Now the town has suddenly become serious about recycling, so much so that it is setting a target, 70% of the town’s waste (I nearly said rubbish) is to be recycled by the year 2020. I wanted to say pledged or committed but I’m not sure these are the right words. The Spanish word for commitment is compromiso which sounds too much like compromise, which as you know means something entirely different in English, though I have to say it might be more appropriate. 70% must seem a bit of a tall order, if they are going to be totally honest, which is why I opted for the word target as when it isn’t reached it is far less embarrassing.

So, how are they going to do it? Recycling bins have appeared on Playa Jardin. That’s a start, although there needs to be more of them. A move in the right direction though, and well received on social media, with a great deal of comment, including pictures and a video of the bins being emptied into a green wheelie bin. A teething problem I am sure and I expect that there has been an element of re-education to rectify it.

Seventy per cent, I keep thinking about it. Are they going to rely on, and continue with the roll out of the underground bins? I expect so; they appear to be thick skinned about the project. At least, that was what I had always thought until I spotted one of the ‘old style’ bins for cardboard recycling had been positioned right next to one of the ‘hardly used’ chutes.

They have seen sense at last, was my immediate thought. I took a photo, just in case it had been left there by mistake and it would quickly disappear again. Now let’s hear the official version. The bin has been positioned there as a temporary measure whilst regular users of the bin area are educated in the correct use of the underground bins.

Like, how to rip a large cardboard box into small enough pieces to fit down the small chute, or how to retrieve a box that is jammed in the chute because the user before you couldn’t be bothered to flatten it. Oh, and apparently it is everyone’s public duty to denounce anyone who they see ‘misusing the bin’, a euphemism for ‘dumping their rubbish on the pavement. Just a temporary reprieve then for users of that bin area while they go back to school, but then again is it? A lot of ‘temporary’ things in this town have a habit of becoming permanent features and if I think about it would I expect anyone to admit that the whole underground bins idea was wrong. It is not known to a local trait, as I have found on numerous occasions, to admit when they are wrong, something I have always put down to cultural differences.

San Telmo

Another recent incentive, one that I have to give the ayuntamiento credit for, even so they were very slow to react. I admit, they rather stole my thunder, I was prepared to berate them over it, I still will, though the problem is now ‘technically’ resolved. I will use San Telmo for my example as it was the worst affected area I witnessed. At 8 in the morning, everything is spick and span, the bins are empty and the area is clean. Yet, come 4 in the afternoon, the bins are overflowing and litter (rubbish by another name) is strewn everywhere. The town is very busy, we have almost record numbers of visitors and the irony is that this influx coincides with the period when local authority emplo-yees or representatives are working on their summer rota, which appears to me to consist of roughly half a day.

Never mind, the cavalry has arrived, as of a few weeks ago; the bins are being emptied twice a day. Is it enough though? If this town is serious, both about recycling and of hitting the 70% mark, the bins which are totally inadequate need replacing with recycling bins, and highly visible ones, not hidden underground and not just in that area, but throughout the town centre.

Perhaps then once they have sorted out the town centre they can radiate outwards and some of the residential areas can get their roads and pavement swept, weeds cleared and enjoy a timely collection of garden waste instead of it rotting in the street for weeks. Things only seem to happen if you complain.

Rainy day

Wow, that was a lot of rubbish! What else has happened in the town? I’ll leave calle Quintana, save it for a rainy day, although since the concrete slabs have arrived they are making good headway. They still won’t finish on schedule, but then no one expects them too. Now that phase one is almost complete you have a good idea of how the street will look. Another expanse of featureless ‘grey’ just what the town is becoming famous for. I sometimes wonder how we ended up with calle La Hoya, not to everyone’s taste; I am sure, but at least one street where someone used a bit of imagination. And I said I wasn’t going to comment!

They seemed to make a song and dance about the repairs to calle Tegueste in Punta Brava. We were treated to one of those long rambling fb posts in which everything was repeated two or three times, but when you sorted the wheat from the chaff all they were saying was how good they’ve been. (Still it made a change from posts of pictures of beauty pageants, of which there seems to have been a lot this year.) Closed for over a year, they didn’t exactly rush the repairs, but work was eventually completed a few weeks ago.

Job done, I am only commenting now because I went down last week, just to be nosey, to see what sort of job they had made of it. I have to say I was surprised, what was once a narrow but negotiable road is now a pathway. So repaired it may be but reinstated it is not, let’s hope the Teno repairs fare better. I would think there are a few vecinos who are very much aggrieved, especially those who have garages they can no longer use. True, they have tidied up the area and painted the seawall, but only so far, far enough for it to look good in the photos, they never ever really finish a job off. What’s next I wonder, perhaps a change of name; I am sure paseo Tegueste would be more appropriate now.

Taoro building

The Taoro building has been in the news again, no, still they haven’t found anyone to take it on, mores the pity; however, that was the topic of a recent Spanish newspaper article. It appears that after having no success, Cabildo who own the building are going to try again, this time adding a parcel of land next to the building, which has been ceded to them by Puerto’s ayuntamiento. The idea being the extra ground would provide more parking making the package more attractive to potential punters. To make it even more so, the proviso that it should remain a hotel has been removed. However, I assume that any interested parties will have to cough up the cost of the dilapidations, a substantial amount, as the only part of the building to have been maintained in recent years is the gardens. One to keep an eye on, who knows they might already have someone in mind.

Traffic lights

Finally, is it likely that the two sets of traffic lights not working will be repaired in the not to distance future? I know in both cases that someone has tried their upmost to demolish one of the uprights, but come on both sets of lights have been out for weeks and it can’t be that difficult a repair, or more importantly that expensive. Normally I would not worry or even mention it, as long as everyone approaches the junction with a bit of logic and common sense all will be ok, but then this is Tenerife and most of the time you have to second guess what some local drivers are going to do and then add to the equation that some tourists might be driving on the ‘wrong’ side, or even the ‘right’ side of the road for the first time