Clean-up time for Portugal

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Thousands of volunteers will be out and about across Portugal tomorrow (Saturday) helping in the Limpar Portugal project, which aims to clear various areas of illegally dumped rubbish.

Cavaco Silva, President of the Republic, Dulce Pássaro, Minister of Environment, and two military regiments of the Portuguese Army are among the volunteers.

Organisers hope that the total number of people helping out tomorrow will reach 100,000.

More than 11,000 areas of concern all over the country have been identified, with most in the north of the country. In the Algarve region, 381 illegal dumps have been identified.

Limpar Portugal, which is based on an initiative developed in Estonia in 2008, started out only covering forest areas but quickly spread to towns and cities.

The work is led by citizens but has the backing of nearly 200 local councils, as well as companies and other associations.

For more information, please visit (available in Portuguese only).

The organisation will accept registrations until tomorrow (Saturday).

If you would like to take part in the Limpar Portugal initiative in the Algarve, please contact your local Câmara or Parish Coucil for more information about the local clean ups and meeting times. Alternatively, please visit the Limpar Portugal website, (in Portuguese only)

Facts and useful information:

How many illegal dumps? Estimated to be 11,000.

Where are they? Northern Region (north of Coimbra) – 6,000 (54.5 per cent); Central Region (between Coimbra and Setúbal) – 4,000 (36.3 per cent); Southern Region – 1,000 (9.1 per cent).

What happens to the rubbish that is collected? Once separated, it will be distributed to the relevant collection and recycling waste companies.

How many people are registered? At the time of going to press, more than 70,000.

Number of Câmaras involved? 190.

Portuguese army involvement: The 14th Infantry Regiment from Viseu will be mobilised to clean the mountains in that region, and the 3rd Infantry Regiment in Beja will plant trees in areas affected by fires.

How long does it take for rubbish to decompose in the environment?

A sheet of paper – three to six months.

A cotton blouse – six months to one year.

Nylon stockings – 30 years.

A butt end of a cigar – five years.

A piece of chewing gum – 13 years.

A can of soda made of aluminium – 80 years.

A piece of plastic – 100 years.

A supermarket plastic bag – 450 years.

A glass bottle – 1 million years.

A tyre – indefinite.

Waste production in Portugal Each resident of Portugal produces on average 472 kilos of garbage per year. If this garbage was placed in a football stadium, the height of the stack would be 1,300 metres tall.  It would also fill up 17,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.