Ria Formosa polluted

Environmental association, GEOTA, has warned that untreated sewage from the Sotavento is pouring into the Ria Formosa and claim that the problem arises in the absence of a proper water treatment centre to serve that zone.

“While the Vila Real de Santo António ETAR awaits construction, the contents of the drains are poured directly into the environment without being sufficiently treated,” says the association. Meanwhile, Vila Real de Santo António Câmara has launched a tender bid for the construction of the new treatment centre due to be completed by 2007. The câmara has pledged that the new system will serve a population of 130,000 people, so enabling “a complete resolution to the problems of waste that affect the beaches of Manta Rota and Altura in the summer”.

GEOTA has also warned that there is a risk of ecological systems and tourism being damaged in the Ria Formosa area as a result of the pollution. The same association reports that the Ria Formosa is constantly affected by problems caused by human activity. It says that “it is vital to maintain water quality” and “adequate treatment of liquid waste” in order to guarantee the survival of the local natural habitat. The association comments that the urbanisation of the coast and illegal construction on the island’s riverbank has led to what it calls “irreparable damage to the dunes”.

The environmental group’s comments were passed to the director of the Ria Formosa National Park, Paulo Silva, who also informed President Sampaio about the situation during his recent visit.