The environmental association Quercus classified 30 beaches in the Autonomous Region of Madeira with ‘Gold Quality’ in 2021, seven more than last year.
Quercus awarded this award to 392 Portuguese beaches, six more than last year, with the Tagus and West region having more awards, was announced today.
In a statement, Quercus released its list that distinguishes the quality of bathing water from Portuguese beaches.
Of the awarded beaches, 329 are coastal, 52 are inland and 11 are transitional, with the Algarve region having the highest number of awards, plus 17, for a total of 93, while the Center region recorded the biggest drop in the attribution of the distinction.
The Tagus and West region was once again the region with the most awarded beaches (100), followed by the Algarve region (93) and the North region (72).
Comparing with 2020, the Tagus and West region saw a decrease of six assignments, and the North region and the Algarve region saw an increase in assignments of six and 17 awards, respectively.
The Centro region registered 15 more awards (out of 27) and the Alentejo region lost one award, compared to last year, now registering 28.
In relation to the islands, the Autonomous Region of the Azores recorded a decline of two distinctions, now standing at 42, and the Autonomous Region of Madeira registered an increase of seven, to a total of 30.
According to the criteria defined in 2021, explained to Quercus, to receive the classification of “Beach with Gold Quality”, some parameters must be respected, namely the “excellent” water quality in the last five bathing seasons (from 2016 to 2020) ), in addition to the fact that, in the last bathing season, there were no occurrences / warnings against advising on bathing, banning bathing and / or temporarily banning the beach.
Also, all analyzes carried out during the 2020 bathing season should have better results than the values defined for the 95th percentile in Annex I of the Bathing Water Directive.
That is, for coastal and transitional waters, all analyzes should have values below 100ufc / 100ml (colony forming unit / milliliter) for intestinal enterococci and less than 250ufc / 100ml for Escherichia coli; and for inland waters, 200ufc / 100ml and 500ufc / 100ml, respectively.
According to an ordinance published on May 14 in Diário da República, the bathing season could start on May 15 and municipalities can extend it until October 15. The Government has already announced that the majority of municipalities have chosen to start it on June 12.
Quercus underlined the need for bathers to comply with the sanitary rules defined by the Directorate-General for Health when attending bathing areas.
Like last year, the Government established, in the context of a pandemic, the rules for access to beaches and bathing areas this summer: a diploma published on May 19 regulates the access, occupation and use of bathing beaches with the aim of prevention, containment and mitigation of the transmission of infection by covid-19, and also applies, “with the necessary adaptations, to the use of outdoor swimming pools”.
A new fact in relation to last year is that the diploma establishes fines for those who do not comply with the rules, ranging from 50 to 100 euros, for natural persons, and from 500 to 1,000 euros, in the case of legal persons.
Among the established rules (and whose non-compliance is subject to fines) is the use of a mask when accessing the beach and the use of support, restaurants or sanitary facilities, the practice of non-individual sports, the non-compliance with social distance between people and groups, namely in the sand, and the non-compliance with the rules to circulate in the accesses, crossings and walls.