Algarve municipalities with most ‘zero pollution’ beaches are Albufeira and Aljezur
Portugal boasts 58 ‘zero pollution beaches’ – the highest number ever – with the Algarve municipalities of Albufeira and Aljezur standing out as areas with the most to their name.
It’s that time of year again… tomorrow (June 1) sees the official opening of Portugal’s beach season, with environmental association ZERO revealing what it calls its ‘gold quality’ awards.
Down south, Albufeira has five golden beaches (when last year it had none); Aljezur has five (when last year it only had one), Tavira has four, Faro three and Vila do Bispo also three.
Alcobaça, Porto Santo (Madeira), Sesimbra and Vila do Porto (Santa Maria, Azores) are equally blessed among a total of 29 municipalities with ‘gold quality’ waters.
As ZERO explains, a ‘zero pollution beach’ is one in which “no microbiological contamination is detected in analysis taken of waters over three beach seasons”.
This year, it applies to 9% of the total number opening for the season (643), which means an increase of five beaches overall from 2021.
ZERO admits, “a lot still has to be done to guarantee good quality water in the rivers and streams of Portugal” which means “additional efforts have to be made” by businesses, and in urban waste systems.
Some gold quality beaches from last year are no longer considered gold, and one river beach has been added to the list (Albufeira de Alfaiates, in Sabugal).
ZERO’s message to beachgoers this year, as always, is to value the quality of Portugal’s beaches by never leaving any kind of refuse behind.
The association explains that since the pandemic hit, the number of discarded masks and plastic gloves finding their way into seas is “considerable”, causing myriad harmful effects to marine life and quality.