“Human presence has left a polluting signature in the coastal zone of the Algarve, with a negative impact, for example, in terms of biodiversity”, says Pedro Costa, from the Department of Earth Sciences of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC), quoted in statement sent to Lusa agency.
The “OnOff” project, which involves more than 20 researchers, made it possible to carry out “a chronography of extreme events [such as tsunamis and storms] and the effects of human contamination” in this area of Portugal, over the last 12,000 years.
The study “alerts the impacts of human pollution on the continental shelf of the Algarve”, says the FCTUC press office, according to which “heavy metals and organic contaminants were detected along the coastal area of the Algarve, between Sagres and Portimão”.
“The data obtained seem to indicate that in the 1960s there was a peak of pollution, but, curiously, in recent years, this pollution seems to be slowing down slightly, with the exception of the Arade River area”, reveals Pedro Costa, co-author of the scientific article.
The study reports the presence of “various inorganic and organic pollutants related to human activity, including different heavy metals and even microplastics”.
Due to climate change, “it is expected that we will have more high-energy events, both in precipitation and in storms, which will cause more intense erosive phenomena”.
“In Portugal, there are already a number of areas under pressure, which means that this problem will inevitably worsen. We have always had pollution, but with the changing climatic forces and the energy levels of these extreme events, phenomena that would be of low intensity could cause serious negative consequences and serious imbalances in coastal systems”, warns the FCTUC researcher.