In Portugal, there are 68 beaches that carry the title of "zero pollution" of the Zero association. Torres Vedras, Peniche and Angra do Heroísmo are the municipalities with the most unpolluted beaches.
It's official: this Saturday the long-awaited 2020 bathing season begins in some parts of the country, which appears as a real oasis in the desert in the midst of a phase of deconfinement after months closed at home because of the Covid-19 pandemic that has taken Portugal and the world by storm.
Portugal has 850 km of beaches, from north to south, and 830 thousand places available on the sands, according to the rules of social distancing drawn by the Portuguese Environment Agency. There are also the Blue Flag beaches (360 this year) and many others (381) with Quercus Gold Quality.
In addition, says the environmentalist association Zero, Portugal has 68 bathing areas without any water pollution, an increase of 55 percentage points, and 24 more beaches, compared to the 44 classified last year, advanced the Association Sustainable Terrestrial System Zero.
All these 68 bathing areas are coastal (sea) and represent 11% of the total 621 bathing areas in operation this year. The municipalities with the largest number of unpolluted beaches are located in Torres Vedras (10), Peniche (5), Angra do Heroísmo (5), Praia da Vitória (4) and Tavira (4).
What's a pollution-free beach?
The Zero association explains in a statement that a "zero beach pollution is one in which no microbiological contamination has been detected in the analysis of bathing waters over the last three seasons.
According to data from the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), the Zero Association identified the Portuguese beaches that during the last three seasons (2017, 2018 and 2019) were not only always classified as "excellent" but also presented values zero or below the detection limit in all analyses performed on the two microbiological parameters controlled and provided for in the legislation (escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci).
Zero leaves alerts at the start of the bathing season
No waste should be left on the beach and preferably forwarded through the selective collection. Additional care should be taken when throwing away gloves and masks. More than 80% of the 12.2 million tons of plastic entering the marine environment each year comes from land-based sources, the largest contributor being a plastic waste, including items such as beverage bottles and other types of packaging. This year considerable waste and masks and gloves are also being detected in the Mediterranean.
The landscape and surrounding ecosystems of bathing areas should be preserved, avoiding walking on dunes or other sensitive areas.
For environmental and safety reasons, only beaches classified as bathing areas, where there is surveillance and where the quality of the water is known, should be frequented.
Due to the pandemic situation, the appropriate distance from third parties should be safeguarded.
Read the original Portuguese article and a complete list of beaches here.