EDITION: September - November 2020

Ibiza Optimista - We are good news!

Eco Catamaran cleans the Sea in Ibiza

Ibiza has set a target to drastically reduce plastic waste in our waters, and a major step in that direction was taken with the launch of the solar powered Ocean Clean Up Catamaran. This boat is named “iBi”, and it includes a unique system that filters and removes plastic from the seas surrounding Ibiza and Formentera. The filters work at 50 cm below the surface collecting plastic of all sizes - from 2 cm up to the maximum of the boat’s width. The design is based on La Bella Verde’s 100% emission free eco boat, which is powered entirely by the elements. The iBi Catamaran works every day, and each hour it covers about 22,000 m2, whilst filtering 11,000 m3 of seawater.

The creators of this project are Ed and Joke Pronk, a couple from the Netherlands who are now living in Ibiza. They were inspired to do something when they rescued a sea turtle that had been caught in plastic just off the coast of Ibiza. They began using a small scoop net to collect plastic from their boat, but soon wanted to do more. According to Ed: “Although we were making an impact it was slow, so we started to think about a quicker and more efficient way to do this. Then we met the people from La Bella Verde and their solar powered catamarans.” Ed and Joke created the iBi Foundation to manage this project, and plans are already in development to add another catamaran.

Airships of the future

To most people the giant airships known as Zeppelins are nothing more than memories from the 1930s, but they may be making a comeback. Several large aeronautics companies are designing modern airships that could carry huge loads of cargo with just a fraction of the fuel used by airplanes. Airships need relatively little fuel to take off or to propel themselves, and that makes them a much more carbon-efficient way to move air cargo - which is set to triple in the coming decades. In addition to fuel efficiency, airships have other potential advantages. They take off and land more like a balloon than an airplane, thus making it easier to deliver cargo when there is no landing strip and/or poor infrastructure. They would also be ideal for large bulky cargo which could be carried underneath using cables.

The designers of these new vehicles have a choice as to which gas to use for buoyancy - hydrogen or helium. Hydrogen has major advantages in that it is inexpensive, can be created using renewable energy and has about 7% greater lifting ability than helium. The downside is that hydrogen is flammable whereas helium is not, so most companies are planning to use helium for extra safety. The airships that are being developed now are called hybrids as they blend lighter-than-air travel with some aspects of fuel-powered boost. These will attain speeds that are about two times as fast as cargo ships. Future models may be able to fly much higher and faster by taking advantage of the free winds of the jet stream - the narrow band of fast-moving air above the troposphere. These winds average 200 km per hour, and could propel an airship at much greater speed with almost no use of fuel.

Ozone Therapy for Covid-19 on Ibiza

Hospitals around the world are scrambling to find effective ways to treat the Covid-19 virus, and many are consulting the Rosario Clinic here on Ibiza because of their success in using ozone therapy. Staff doctors Montserrat Viñals and Alberto Hernández have experience with ozone therapy, and they proposed using it on Covid patients. Francisco Vilás, the head of the Rosario Polyclinic Group, gave his OK after seeing that the treatment was being used successfully in Italy.

Their first ozone patient was Sergio Tonelli who was in the ICU (intensive care) with severe symptoms and low oxygen levels. He did not want to go on a ventilator which is a very invasive procedure with a large tube that is put down the throat into the lungs. These patients are often put into a controlled coma to allow the machine to breath for them. Mr Tonelli said he would rather try the ozone, and after the first treatment his condition immediately improved. In just three days of ozone therapy his oxygen levels had returned to normal. Since then the treatment has been applied to ten other patients with serious symptoms and all have recovered well.

Dr Hernández says that “The treatment is simple and easy to apply without any side effects. Patients respond very rapidly, and within 24 to 48 hours they are significantly improved.” He explains that the ozone treatment eases the inflammation of the lungs caused by Covid-19, and also stimulates the flow of oxygen to the body. Dr Vilás says that from now on his hospital will apply this treatment to all serious Covid-19 patients. He has received calls from hospitals around the world, “asking us for the protocols, which we have sent to them. We will be happy to help any hospital that asks by sharing our technical resources and our experience with ozone therapy.”

Grow vegetables in your home

If you want to grow some of your own food, but do not have the land to do it, then Ikea’s indoor hydroponic garden system may be just what you are looking for. This simple kit allows you to grow fresh produce at home without the need for soil or any previous gardening experience. Here’s how it works: Seeds are placed in absorbent foam plugs that keep them moist with just the right amount of water. This enables the seeds to sprout, and then the foam plugs are transferred into a small pot that is filled with pumice stones. The pots are placed in a growing tray that is equipped with a solar lamp and a water sensor which ensures that the plants are given the ideal amount of water. The system comes with everything you need to get started: seeds, starter plugs, nursery box, fertilizer, pumice stones, and light fixture.

Ikea collaborated with Swedish agricultural scientists to create this design that is aimed to be used by people who live in apartments or in a house without a garden. As Helena Karlén, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, explained, “The challenge was to make growing plants in a hydroponic system so simple that anyone could succeed.” The spokesman for Ikea said: “We wanted to create gardening kits that would make it simple for people to grow their own herbs and vegetables 12 months a year. It’s about creating a more sustainable and healthier life at home for everyone”.

Breakthrough in cancer research

Researchers at Cardiff University (UK) have discovered a new type of killer immune cell (T-cell) that has the potential to be an effective therapy against numerous types of cancer. T-cell therapies are a growing field in cancer treatment. The way it works is that immune cells are removed to be modified, and then they are returned to the patient’s blood to seek and destroy cancer cells. However, up to now this process could only target a limited number of cancers, and was not successful against solid tumours - which make up the majority of cancers. These newly discovered T-cells are equipped with a T-cell receptor (TCR), which recognises and kills most human cancer types while ignoring healthy cells.

According to professor Andrew Sewell who headed the study, “This raises the possibility of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ cancer treatment; a single type of T-cell capable of destroying many different types of cancers.” In the lab, T-cells equipped with the new TCR were shown to kill lung, skin, blood, colon, breast, bone, prostate, ovarian, kidney and cervical cancer cells, while ignoring healthy cells. “If this transformative new finding holds up, it will lay the foundation for a universal T-cell medicine, and a great step forward for cancer immunotherapy.”

Michael Jordan supports racial equality

Michael Jordan, regarded by most experts as the greatest basketball player of all time, recently pledged $100 million to improve “racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.” This came in the wake of protests over the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. “We have been beaten down as African Americans for so many years. It sucks your soul. You can’t accept it anymore. This is a tipping point. We need to make a stand. We’ve got to be better as a society regarding race.” The six-time NBA champion hopes that his work will help people take a deep look at themselves to see what they can do to help curb racial inequality in the US.

Carrito Solidario: free food at supermarkets

Ibiza resident Marco Martín has found a way to help those who are suffering economically during the Covid-19 crisis. He has set up a system in supermarkets and food stores throughout the island that makes it easy for people to donate food, and for those in need to pick it up. Special supermarket carts are set aside and clearly marked that they are for donations. Shoppers can then purchase extra items which they put in these ‘solidarity carts’. People who are in need can come to the stores and take products from those carts free of charge.

Mr Martín explains that, “The people who are having a hard time in this crisis are not only the destitute, but also people like you and me who had jobs and then, overnight have been left without income. These are people who have never been in this situation before, and may be embarrassed to go to Cáritas or the Red Cross.” His idea was to make it easier for them to get help, and also to give shoppers and food establishments a way to demonstrate their generosity. It started when he and some friends filled up a cart like this in their local market, and it has spread around the island. It is a wonderful way to ‘pay it forward’ and be part of the solution in these challenging times.

More information plus a list of participating markets can be found on this website: www.carritosolidariomarcomartin.es

Smart Cane for the visually impaired

Visually impaired Turkish engineer Kursat Ceylan has developed a ground-breaking smart cane to assist those with poor eyesight through the use of smart technology. The “WeWALK” looks like the normal long white cane that many blind people use, but it is completely different. This cane is compatible with a smart phone’s Bluetooth system, plus it has built-in speakers, Google Maps and a Voice Assistant to help blind people navigate. In addition there are special vibration sensors which alert the walker to obstacles that are not normally detected by regular canes. The team behind WeWALK aims to make navigation easier for the visually impaired to support their full participation in social life. It’s founder sums it up this way: “In these days when we are talking about flying cars, blind people are still using just a plain stick. As a blind person, when I am at the Metro station I don’t know which is my exit… I don’t know which bus is approaching… which stores are around me. That kind of information can be provided with the WeWALK.”

Moving company helps abused women

Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy, and moving away from it can be even more daunting. Hundreds of women in California now have the owners of a special moving company to thank for coming to their rescue. When Meathead Movers first started their business in 1997, they were two brothers in high school who were simply looking for a way to earn some extra money. They would occasionally get phone calls from women with little money who wanted to quickly relocate before their abusers returned home. They always declined any compensation and rushed to the address to load their belongings. One of those situations turned unstable when the abuser came home in the middle of the move. This made the boys realize that they had to take steps to ensure that the women they were moving were protected.

They partnered with a local women’s shelter which supported the women with counseling, and made sure that when they came to make the move a proper restraining order would be in place. Since those early days the company has expanded into many cities, and whenever they open a new office they immediately get connected with the local women’s shelter. The owners of Meathead Movers and their employees are very proud of the help they give to abused women, and that aspect of their business is an important part of their mission statement. They hope to inspire others to think about how they can help abused women who are trying to rebuild their lives.