The advising or prohibition of bathing, even for a short period, affected 25 beaches (of the 620 existing), 12 less than in the same period last year. On 22 beaches, this was due to analysis that showed that limits had exceeded the technically set levels for the two microbiological parameters that are evaluated (intestinal Escherichia coli and Enterococcus).

The association also indicates an increase from 7 to 15 in bathing water prohibited by the regional health delegates, and in 11 cases this was due to water quality problems.

Of the total of 15 beaches so far banned - eight inland and seven coastal - the causes are “probably due to poor water quality, although there is no justification in the information provided by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), as was the case of the presence of Salmonella at Praia de Pego Fundo, in Alcoutim ”, reads the statement.

The exception was four cases in which the reasons were linked to the presence of jellyfish on the beaches of Carcavelos and São Pedro do Estoril, in Cascais, or Magoito, in Sintra; and the presence of whales at Praia Formosa in Santa Cruz, Torres Vedras, adds ZERO.

ZERO identified the case of Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo as the worst contamination situation, for whose contamination several possible explanations have been presented, such as the presence of seagulls, contamination from streams or eventual improper functioning of an outflow pipe.

Tábua beach, in the municipality of Ribeira Brava, on Madeira Island, is the second most serious situation, with four analyses above the recommended values.

ZERO also mentions cases “such as Praia de Burgães - Rio Caima, which has been banned for two periods, where, although no published analyses are showing microbiological contamination, the presence of nearby discharges and water pollution was notorious”.

The association also highlighted that between the border with Spain and the estuary in Lisbon, the Tagus River does not have sufficient water quality to have a single bathing area.
Environmentalists consider that this data deserve reflection, especially to prevent a recurrence of this situation.

“There were many beaches banned by the regional health delegates in the interior, places more susceptible to discharges or lack of wastewater treatment, which require adequate control measures”, warns the association.

ZERO also stressed that “many of the bathing areas that have been given a piece of advice or ban during the current bathing season are rated ‘Excellent’”, so it may be concluded that these are “sporadic episodes”, but “that they must have their causes properly verified.”