Mosquito plague pesters bathers

A plague of mosquitoes has brought misery to residents and tourists at the beaches of Armação de Pêra, Galé and Salgados and to the population of Alcantarilha.

Sunbathers and beach business operators have complained to the authorities and they claim that there are so many of the insects that they cannot use the beaches or esplanades, especially at night.

“The walls turn black with the thousand of insects,” said a restaurant owner.

The Portuguese Environmental Agency has tested the lakes’ waters and has revealed that they are not polluted.

However, the municipal authority of Silves got together with members of the health and environmental authorities last week in order to plan disinfestations across the Armação de Pêra lakes and the Alcantarilha stream.

In a press release, the municipality stated that the abnormal numbers of insects are not a threat to the public health because they are not infected. It was stressed that exotic mosquitoes, such as those that transmit diseases like dengue fever or other viruses to humans, have never been found in the Algarve.

The possibility of draining the stream was refused by the authority, which does not believe that the water can be renewed due to weak maritime tidal currents.

“The drop in the lakes’ water volume could potentially affect its quality and could have implications in terms of the system’s ecology,” the statement said.

Alcantarilha’s parish council had already alerted the municipality to the “plague” that was pestering the population of the town and asked for support to eradicate the problem.

The president of the Silves municipal authority, Rogério Pinto, explained that disinfestations are carried out every year in various locations, including Alcantarilha. However, this year, the situation has been out of the ordinary and the reasons behind the appearance of the mosquitoes are unconfirmed.

However, the Alcantarilha council said: “The plague has appeared in the stream due to many factors, such as the strong downpour last winter, the obstruction of the stream’s flow due to reeds, the lack of a cleaning procedure which is long overdue and, worst of all, the constant dumping of residual waste.”

Residents now await an effective solution to end the insect outbreak.