Wristband Hand-Sanitiser Dispenser
Carrying hand-sanitiser around with you and groping for it in your handbag whenever you need it can be cumbersome, but now there’s an easier way: Cleands, a biodegradable, hypoallergenic wristband filled with alcohol gel that you just press once. The capsule inside is easily refilled and each press gives exactly the right dose for an adult pair of hands, dispensing it onto your hands without squirting it everywhere. All you need to do is rub it in for 15 seconds. A full capsule carries enough hand-sanitiser for up to 25 ‘cleans’.
Similar in appearance to a basic Swatch watch and coming in several colours – black, white, yellow and pastel shades of blue, pink and grey – Cleands wristbands are the brainchild of a group of young adults in Spain who intend to donate part of the proceeds from each sale to various charities battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
The dispenser valve is one-way only, so the alcohol gel does not get sucked back in and is very accurately-dosed to avoid waste. All the wearer has to do is remember to refill it – using hand-sanitiser comprising of at least 70%-90% alcohol and with an anti-virus effect, available from pharmacies or supermarkets.
When they eventually get worn out and need to be replaced, the wristbands will not clog up landfill sites, as they are completely biodegradable, meaning they break down and totally disappear over time.
Each wristband costs just €13.75 and you can even buy Cleands-branded anti-virus hand-sanitiser to refill it, at €7 for 250ml or €9 for 400ml, with added aloe vera to keep skin soft, protected and moisturised.
The Cleands team is attempting to roll them out to as many pharmacies nationwide as possible, although they are not yet widely available outside of large towns or cities. Eventually, they hope to have them on sale in almost every chemist nationwide. The wristbands can also be bought online at Cleands.es (delivery charges apply).
What ‘Empty Spain’ Needs – services key to halting rural population decline examined in full.
Banks, shops and public transport, as well as healthcare, education facilities and a postal delivery service are key to stemming Spain’s rural exodus. According to sociologists Luis Camarero, from Spain’s ‘Open University’, the UNED and Jesús Oliva of Navarra Public University, the remote country villages whose populations are ageing and shrinking have been thrust sharply into the spotlight after lockdown drew attention to their local needs.
The least-densely populated areas of Spain are stuck in a type of ‘Catch 22’ situation – few services or job opportunities are in place for younger adults, because there are not enough of them to warrant these, but the lack of these services and opportunities means younger adults tend to leave for cities and coasts as soon as they finish school. As a result, few or no children are born in these areas and as the older residents gradually die out, the headcount dwindles to nothing. Villages that are now completely empty can be found in some of Spain’s more rural regions.
The National Institute of Statistics (INE) said in 2019 that 53% of Spain has fewer than 12 inhabitants per square kilometre – to put that into perspective, even a small town on the coast has a typical population density of around 400-600 per square kilometre. 6,000 Spanish villages have seen their headcount fall in the last 10 years.
Eight in 10 villages in 14 of Spain’s 50 provinces are at risk of becoming completely empty in a generation or two. The collective population of all of these together would fill a city the size of Madrid several times over.
The UNED and Navarra University report reveals that the bank and supermarket most frequently found and the most prolific private-sector companies in villages of 10,000 inhabitants or fewer are CaixaBank and Día. Bank branch closures have hit rural areas the hardest, especially since the financial crisis began in 2008 and then, in 2012. An EU bank bail-out came with tough conditions that included shutting down a certain percentage of offices and, in that time, the 45,707 branches across the country reduced to today’s 25,755. Although online banking has meant their physical presence is less necessary than it was 20 or 30 years ago, half of Spain’s towns and villages do not have a single high-street bank branch. Of the 7,369 towns of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, only 2,726 has a supermarket.
The report highlights an improvement in the expansion of health centres since 2004, but some regions have suffered a major reduction, such as Galicia, whilst others, like Catalunya, Andalucía and Castilla-La Mancha have seen major growth.
Schools in rural Spain and in very small towns and villages are practically all State-run rather than private and frequently operate through an inter-village network where the same school has ‘branches’ in a number of municipalities. Numbers of schools have remained stable in rural parts and even, in some cases, increased.
The most recent data – for the school year 2016-2017 – show a total of 3,665 primary and secondary schools with around 280,000 pupils in total covering villages of 2,000 or fewer inhabitants, meaning the infrastructure does exist to cater for children if enough other incentives were created for adults of childbearing age to move to, or stay in, countryside areas.
One public service which has dramatically declined is mail delivery. Around 521 post offices in rural Spain shut down over the four-year period between 2013 and 2016 and many town-based Post Offices have ceased to deliver to their more sparsely-populated outskirts, or even to urbanisations at a distance from the main hub.
Public transport is sorely lacking in country areas and this dearth is the clearest sign of rural inequality. To guarantee equality everywhere, access to services is a central issue. For this reason, the commitment of public authorities and private-sector operators in health, education, transport, banking and retail services in rural areas and those of low population density is essential. This commitment depends largely on economic revival and villages’ and rural enclaves’ ability to attract the right demographic.
Win Tickets For Next Year’s Tomatina
The world’s biggest – and probably only – salad fight should have celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2020, but it was called off due to the pandemic.
Buñol town council is calling for fans of the festival to video themselves being hit by ripe tomatoes or hurling tomato juice over themselves, uploading the footage on social media and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org All entries will be placed in a draw and the first 10 drawn out will earn them two tickets each for next year’s Tomatina and a commemorative mug.
Mask-wearing, social distancing and stringent hygiene measures mean it is more crucial than ever to avoid pulling a Tomatina-style stunt in public, but a tomatoey version of the ‘ice-bucket challenge’ on your own terrace or garden could work. Dressing up the kids in tomato costumes, filming your tomato plants or tomato-based lunch might also fit the bill.
Videos should be horizontal so the council can put them all together to make a full-length, commemorative 75th anniversary ‘documentary’.
María Vallés, councillor for Tomatina is running this year’s ‘virtual version’ and competition and she fervently hopes next year’s fiesta will be able to go ahead as usual.