"The advising against or ban on bathing, even if for a short period of time, affected 22 beaches, 23 less than in the same period last year. Twenty-one beaches have been banned so far, mostly due to poor water quality. Zero warns that "there are still flaws in the information made available on the Portuguese Environment Agency site” with "the reasons for banning bathing areas, and the procedures of the regional health delegates not being properly explained".
"There are similar situations of contamination where in some cases new analyses were carried out before bathing was allowed again and in others not. There are many cases of beaches where a ban [temporary or permanent] has been decreed for which there is no information in the system about the reasons that led to the decision to ban, nor any results of analyses that have been carried out", reads the note.
Following this assessment, Zero argues that it is necessary to investigate and prevent situations of water contamination, and implement "adequate measures to control the situation".
Many of the bathing areas that have been advised against or banned during the current bathing season are classified as "excellent", and should therefore be sporadic episodes that, in the context of legislation, may not even question their quality, but that should have their causes properly investigated," the association stresses.
For Zero, "in each of the cases, it is fundamental to identify the origin of the problems and find out who is responsible - with the Portuguese Environment Agency and the Inspectorate General for Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Regional Planning playing a decisive role".
The environmental association also mentions that only one of the 58 Zero Pollution beaches presented "significant problems".
"Among the 58 beaches classified by the association as Zero pollution beaches [bathing areas where no contamination was detected in the analyses carried out over the last three bathing seasons] none were covered by a ban or prohibited to bathe in, with the exception of Armona-Mar beach in the municipality of Olhão,” asserts Zero. This list was published at the beginning of June this year and is available at https://zero.ong/58-praias-zero-poluicao-em-29-concelhos-mais-cinco-que-em-2021-e-ha-uma-agua-balnear-interior/.