It’s the day we have all been waiting for: the ‘official start of the beach season’ when the weather seems to just know it’s time to get its act together: brilliant sunshine, perfect blue skies and calm seas are forecast – though “very elevated UV risks” are ‘in the air’, and thus caution is advised as much out of the water as in it.
The good news centres on the number of beaches this year with ‘zero pollution” – 33 in all, almost half of them in the Algarve.
Lifeguards too are ‘back in force’ with hundreds turning up for work this morning and due to stay at their posts watching out for beachgoers’ safety (from 9am till 7pm) until October.
The ‘bad news’ however lurks behind this year’s tally of ‘zero pollution’ beaches.
It is only 5% of the 601 sea and river beaches of Portugal, and 38 LESS than environmentalists pegged last year.
The drop is seen as “enormous, and worrying” – and has left NGO Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável, Zero simply reiterating the need to ‘keep things clean’ whenever taking time out on Portugal’s plentiful sands.
As national media explains, “more than 80% of the 12.2 million tons of plastic that enters the oceans every year is made up of drinks bottles and other types of packaging”.
For the list of ‘unpolluted’ Algarve beaches, see below.
The Costa Vicentina boroughs of Aljezur and Vila do Bispo win the prize for having the most number of completely clean beaches – both having four – but of course these are now the two borough’s most under threat from the consequences of oil and natural gas exploration.
With anti-oil activists planning to take their fight once more to the region’s beaches this year, the Resident has been contacted by Canadian Allen MacDonald, who recently moved here from his native country, and has serious concerns about the safety of “this great coast here”.
Citing a recent “environmental disaster” in British Colombia – after an oil tug ran aground in bad weather – MacDonald explained that Costa Vincentina’s waves would make it virtually impossible to contain any kind of oil spill or leak from rigs, as ‘containment booms’ – the structures put into place around spills – just would not hold.
It’s another aspect of the risks stacking up, threatening to reduce the nation’s tally of ‘beaches with zero pollution’ even further – not to mention another foil with which environmentalists will tackle this ongoing fight to turn back from fossil fuels, and instead concentrate on developing ‘renewables’.
LIST OF POLLUTION-FREE BEACHES:
ALJEZUR: Amado, Monte Clérigo, Odeceixe-Mar, Vale do Homens
OLHÂO: Armona-Mar, Fuseta-Mar
TAVIRA: Cabanas-Mar, Ilha de Tavira-Mar. Terra Estreita
VILA DO BISPO: Almádena, Boca do Rio, Ingrina, Zavial
VILA REAL DO SANTO ANTÓNIO: Fábrica-Mar
GRÂNDOLA: Aberta Nova, Carvalhal, Melides
MAFRA: Foz de Lizandro-Mar
MARINHA GRANDE: Pedras Negras
MOIMENTA DA BEIRA: Albufeira de Vilar
PRAIA DA VITÓRIA: Riviera
SANTIAGO DE CACÉM: Costa de Sto André, Fonte de Cortiço
SINES: Grande de Porto Corvo, Morgavel, Vieirinha
VILA DE REI: Zaboeira
VILA NOVA DE GAIA: Aguda, Marbelo, Sãozinha.