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Portugal has 59 beaches with Zero Pollution. 5 more than in 2023

The environmental association ZERO recognized 59 Zero Pollution beaches in 31 municipalities on the continent and the islands of Madeira and the Azores, five more beaches than in 2023 and, for the first time, two inland bathing waters.

In a statement, ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável reveals that the objective achieved this year “is really what is desired at European level within the framework of the European Ecological Pact, in particular within the scope of the Action Plan for Zero Pollution.”

The Azores have 21 Zero Pollution beaches, 36% of the total, with the municipalities of São Roque do Pico, in the Azores, and Vila do Bispo, on the continent, having the highest number of beaches (four) recognized.

Alcobaça, Aljezur, Faro, Lajes do Pico, Odemira, Porto Santo, Sesimbra, Tavira and Vila do Porto (Santa María, Azores), with three, are also among the first municipalities in number of beaches with Zero Pollution, according to the association .

This year, Zero Pollution beaches represent 9% of the total of 664 existing bathing waters, an increase of 1%, that is, five more beaches compared to the 54 classified in 2023.

All beaches considered last year as Zero Pollution beaches are classified, according to legislation, as beaches with “excellent” water quality, however, CERO warns that “in most cases, at the expense of a single analysis “where the presence of microorganisms was detected, even if they are very far from the limit value, they could no longer be considered Zero Pollution beaches.”

On a positive note, the environmental association highlights that this year there will be 21 Zero Pollution Beaches in the Autonomous Region of the Azores, more than a third of the total (36%).

“Another relevant aspect is that for the first time there are two inland beaches classified as Zero Pollution beaches: Santa Clara, in Odemira, and Devesa, in Sabugal,” the note reads.

Nine municipalities (Calheta, Lajes do Pico, Leiria, Machico, Pombal, Ponta Delgada, Povoação, Sabugal and Santa Cruz da Graciosa) also became part of the municipalities with at least one Zero Pollution beach.

According to the environmental association, the municipality of Albufeira stands out on the negative side, which, “despite having twenty-five beaches that should be validated with an excellent classification” in terms of water quality, saw its six Zero Pollution 2023 beaches eliminated from the list. list this year due to “at least one analysis on each of these beaches that had an extremely low upper value, but greater than zero.”

In terms of balance, 19 beaches were removed from last year’s list and 24 new ones were added, ZERO reveals.

The municipalities of Albufeira, Mafra, Óbidos, Torres Vedras and Vila Real de Santo António are no longer represented.

A Zero Pollution beach is one in which no microbiological contamination has been detected in the analyzes carried out on the bathing waters during the last three bathing seasons.

Environmentalists point out that it is “extremely difficult” to achieve a clean record in three years in indoor bathing areas, “much more susceptible to microbiological contamination.”

“Except for two inland beaches, all the remaining beaches are coastal. “This fact is an indicator of how much remains to be done to guarantee good water quality in rivers and streams in Portugal, which requires additional efforts at the urban sanitation and business levels,” the association states.

A Zero Pollution beach receives its name based on data from the Portuguese Environment Agency, which identifies the beaches that, during the last three bathing seasons (in this case, 2021, 2022 and 2023), not only always had a rating of “Excellent”. since they presented null values ​​or lower than the detection limit in all the analyzes carried out for the two microbiological parameters controlled and provided for in the legislation (Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci).

Source: Observadora

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