The assessment by the environmentalist association Zero, highlights that 20 beaches have already been banned and 45 now with bathing as not being recommended or prohibited completely.

Zero’s assessment, based on official results of the National Water Resources Information System and compared to last year, shows that there are currently 643 bathing waters and a very limited number of beaches showing problems, although there are more than last year.

This year, the banning and non advisory of bathing affected 45 beaches, 20 more than last year, due to microbiological results with values above the permitted limits. By August 15, 20 beaches had been closed (eight inland and 12 coastal), five more than in the same period last year.

Of these 20 bans, the environmental association highlights one (inland) with microbiological contamination associated with excessive amounts of bacteria that cause infections (intestinal Escherichia coli and Enterococus), in addition to another seven inland beaches affected by salmonella, another bacterium that also causes infections in humans.

As for the 12 coastal beaches, Zero refers in the communiqué that two were closed due to refurbishment works and one because a sewer pipe broke. The reason for the others to be banned was also due to exceeding of limit values of at least one bacterium.

“Zero considers that there are still gaps in information on the website of the Portuguese Environment Agency, given that the reasons for banning bathing areas and the procedures by the Regional Health Delegates are not properly explained, with similar contamination situations, where in some cases the beach was closed until further analysis was carried out and in others not”, the association said in the statement.