Blue flags flying

A European Blue Flag-raising ceremony took place recently in Faro. And Câmara officials are delighted that the number of beaches to be awarded a Blue Flag, the symbol of environmental quality, has once again risen. In 2003, the number of flags increased to two and, this year, three beaches – Faro, Farol and Barreta – are flying flags.

Câmara President José Vitorino took the opportunity to emphasise the importance for both children and adults to keep beaches clean and take care to avoid accidents. He also announced that a beach concession will be operating on Praia de Faro and, as last year, that there will be lifeguards on the beach.

Albufeira Câmara also celebrated this week as the authorities’ 12th Blue Flag was raised at Praia de Rocha-Baixinha. Albufeira also continues to lead the regional list of seaside areas with the highest number of ‘Golden Quality’ beaches, awarded by environmental group Quercus, and based on the quality of water analysed over the last five years.

Lagos, meanwhile, has only three Blue Flag beaches – Luz, Meia Praia and Porto de Mós. But the President of the Câmara claims that all his beaches are of good quality and will be monitored by the Health Authority during the bathing season. Júlio Barroso explained: “The analysis will include all beaches, whether they have the award or not,” and added: “We want to guarantee total clarity and reassure bathers”.

According to Barroso, Lagos only has three beaches with the European quality award because of structural problems. He says that the other eight beaches in the area don’t have Blue Flags because they are difficult to access from the cliffs, and reassured would-be visitors that the problems are not related to the quality of the water or the cleanliness of the sand.