13 of the country's 59 ZERO pollution beaches are in the Algarve

Albufeira had its six ZERO pollution beaches removed from the list this year

ZERO (Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável) identified 59 ZERO Pollution Beaches in Portugal this year, 13 of which are in the Algarve. 

The list includes Bordeira, Vale dos Homens and Vale Figueiras (Aljezur); Barreta, Culatra-mar and Ilha do Farol – sea (Faro); Burgau, Ingrina, Salema and Zavial (Vila do Bispo) and Barril, Ilha de Tavira – Mar and Terra Estreita (Tavira).

Odemira also appears on the list with the beaches of Almograve, Alteirinhos and Santa Clara.

«On the negative, Albufeira, despite having twenty five beaches that should be validated with an excellent rating in terms of water quality, had its six ZERO Pollution Beaches removed from the list this year due to at least one analysis in each one of these beaches that had an extremely low upper value, but higher than zero. The municipalities of Albufeira, Mafra, Óbidos, Torres Vedras and Vila Real de Santo António are no longer represented. In terms of balance, 19 beaches left last year's list and 24 new ones entered», says ZERO in a note.

This year, the Azores have 21 ZERO Pollution Beaches, 36% of the total, and there are five more beaches than in 2023 and, for the first time, two of them have inland bathing waters (Santa Clara, in Odemira, and Devesa, in Sabugal).

ZERO considers that «this objective is truly what is desired on a European scale within the framework of the European Ecological Pact, in particular within the scope of the Zero Pollution Action Plan» and adds that «a ZERO Pollution Beach is one in which there has been no any microbiological contamination was detected in the analyzes carried out on bathing water over the last three bathing seasons”.

In 2024, ZERO Pollution Beaches will represent 9% of the total of 664 existing bathing waters, «an increase of 1%, five more beaches, compared to the 54 classified last year.

«All beaches classified last year as ZERO Pollution Beaches are classified, under legislation, as beaches with “excellent” water quality. However, most of the time, at the cost of a single analysis where the presence of microorganisms was detected, even if very far from the limit value, they can no longer be considered ZERO Pollution Beaches", highlights ZERO.

The association also emphasizes that nine municipalities, Calheta, Lajes do Pico, Leiria, Machico, Pombal, Ponta Delgada, Povoação, Sabugal and Santa Cruz da Graciosa, became part of the municipalities with at least one ZERO Pollution Beach.

The municipalities with the highest number of ZERO Pollution Beaches are São Roque do Pico and Vila do Bispo, with four beaches, and Alcobaça, Aljezur, Faro, Lajes do Pico, Odemira, Porto Santo, Sesimbra, Tavira, Vila do Porto (Santa Maria in the Azores), with three.