Rincón de la Victoria is to become a pioneer in the fight against discarded baby wipes which have been responsible for blocking drains in many towns and cities, resulting in an estimated annual cost for clearing them of €200 million. Last month, the town presented its plan to tackle the problem using artificial intelligence.

Mayor Francisco Salado and Environment Councillor Sergio Díaz gave details of how cameras will detect the accumulation of solid waste in the network of pipes. The project, named iONWipes, is intended to improve sanitation and optimise pumping stations. It will also have a research and development role in monitoring the effects which rainfall and seasonal factors have on the flow of waste water.

However, Mayor Salado stressed the need to make the public aware of the requirement to dispose of these wipes in the correct way, “not only to avoid negative economic consequences for municipal coffers, but to protect the environment.”

Some 717 metric tons of waste are collected in the Axarquía’s treatment plants annually, of which 370 tons was used wipes, according to Sergio Diaz, president of the Association of Axarquía municipalities. He added that this increases the costs of collecting and handling rubbish, and called for the region to become a leader in the recycling and sanitation of its water cycle.