Albufeira and Aljezur are the champions of ZERO pollution beaches in Portugal

also Faro, Loulé, Olhão and Vila do Bispo have beaches without pollution

Albufeira and Aljezur, with five beaches, and Tavira, with four, are the municipalities in the country with the most ZERO-pollution bathing areas in Portugal, announced today the ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável.

According to the evaluation, the following are the municipalities of Alcobaça, Faro, Porto Santo (Madeira), Sesimbra, Vila do Bispo and Vila do Porto (Santa Maria, Azores) with three.

The environmental association revealed that, across the country, there are 58 ZERO-pollution Beaches this year in 29 municipalities, five more than in 2021, with even a river beach with that status.

A ZERO-pollution beach is one in which no microbiological contamination was detected in the analyzes carried out on bathing water over the last three bathing seasons.

In 2022, beaches with ZERO pollution represent 9% of the total of the 643 bathing areas in operation, an increase of 9 percentage points, 5 more beaches, compared to the 53 classified last year.

All beaches classified last year as ZERO pollution beaches are classified, under the legislation, as beaches with “excellent” water quality.

Most of the time, however, at the cost of a single analysis where the presence of microorganisms was detected, even if very far from the limit value, beaches can no longer be considered ZERO pollution.

On the positive side, it is worth mentioning the entry of five beaches in Albufeira that did not have any last year, and the change from one to five beaches in Aljezur.
Lourinhã and Vila Nova de Gaia left two ZERO beaches last year and are no longer represented. In terms of balance, 12 beaches left the list last year and 17 new ones entered.

There are 46 ZERO beaches on the mainland in 21 municipalities, eight in the Azores in six municipalities and four in Madeira in two municipalities.

Similar to what happened in the years 2016 (the year in which ZERO started this assessment) to 2019, there is an inland bathing area with the classification of ZERO pollution – Albufeira de Alfaiates in the municipality of Sabugal. All other beaches are considered “coastal”, except one beach in an estuarine area classified as “transitional”.

«This fact is an indicator of the much that still needs to be done to guarantee a good quality of water in rivers and streams in Portugal, which requires additional efforts in terms of urban sanitation and companies», emphasizes the association.

ZERO explains that “it is extremely difficult to obtain an unscathed record for three years in inland bathing areas, which are much more susceptible to microbiological pollution”.



Some bathing season alerts

ZERO has selected some aspects that it considers crucial at the beginning of the bathing season on many beaches:>>For environmental and safety reasons, only beaches classified as bathing areas should be frequented, where there is surveillance and where the water quality is known;

>>No waste should be left on the beach and, whenever possible, we should send it through selective collection.
Extra care should be taken when disposing of gloves and masks.
More than 80% of the 12,2 million tonnes of plastic that enters the marine environment each year comes from terrestrial sources, with the largest contributor being plastic waste, including items such as beverage bottles and other types of packaging.
This year, considerable residues and masks and gloves are also being detected in the Mediterranean;

>>The landscape and ecosystems surrounding the bathing areas must be preserved, avoiding the trampling of dunes or other sensitive areas.