Are we turning Portimão into a rubbish dump?

EDITOR, We have now been living permanently in Portimão for the last 12 years, it has been an ideal lifestyle choice with few regrets.

One large change however, that we have observed during this period, which concerns us greatly, is the significant increase in the amount of rubbish everywhere, especially during the summer months. How does that help the local tourist industry, or property prices in the area?

In our local area, despite repeated requests, users refuse to flatten empty water bottles. As such the plastic and metal container is normally 80% full of AIR. It thus overflows regularly, water bottles are then left next to the container without being flattened as is plastic film, so the next strong wind disperses them across the beautiful Portimão countryside and town. The same is also true to a lesser extent for corrugated/carton containers. It is so simple to flatten them! I am not suggesting this is the complete solution, but it will certainly help.

We previously lived in New York State where all beer bottles and soft drinks cans carried a 5c deposit. One simply deposited them in a container outside the supermarket and received a receipt redeemable against the next purchase. The system had the added advantage that the less wealthy in the area “borrowed” a supermarket trolley and toured the neighbourhood collecting all random bottles and cans, deposited them and sold the receipt for its redeemable value to the next willing shopper who appreciated the community service on offer. I read how many European countries/supermarket chains say how difficult it is to implement a deposit scheme! Did the NYS version work perfectly? No. Did it significantly reduce rubbish on the streets? Yes.

We lived in Holland in the 90’s. At that time supermarkets had large bins at the exit where shoppers could deposit excess packaging they considered to be unnecessary. The main water supply company also published regular reports comparing the quality of piped water to that in bottles, often showing it to be superior. I wonder how Portimão water quality compares?

Cash register programmes that automatically give discounts on multiple items in the same shopping basket have been available since the 90’s, eliminating the need for tertiary packaging.

These issues will not solve the problem but will certainly reduce the load on EMARP/ALGAR.

To EMARP/ALGAR I say why is it so difficult to increase the staffing levels or time during the summer months? They obviously realise there is significantly more rubbish to be collected. Also rubbish bins outside all temporary accommodation would be a big help, as those leaving after a wonderful holiday here, have less incentive to carefully deposit their rubbish when there are no bins close by.

We all have a part to play, Portugal is a beautiful country, relatively unspoilt. This is what attracted us initially compared to other resorts which were totally ruined by the spoils of excessive and careless tourism.

PLEASE HELP. There is opportunity here for all of us. What ideas do other residents have?

Jim Lloyd, By email