A bloom of algae in the warm waters of the Ria Formosa lagoon has sparked controversy within Olhão’s council amid claims that holidaymakers have sought treatment at Faro hospital.
Algae has been a problem this August but whether anyone has received medical treatment remains a mystery with the hospital denying it has treated any such patients and certain Olhão councillors saying that holidaymakers have been complaining that the algae has caused concerns and criticism from holidaymakers which has led to "trips to the hospital for treatment."
There is the usual dispute over who is responsible for cleaning up the problem, this time between the council services company Ambiolhão and the body that manages the Ria Formosa Natural Park.
The council says it is prevented from cleaning up the algae by the park authority, but José António Pacheco from the Department of Nature Conservation and Forestry of the Algarve said today that Ambiolhão has been contacted to sort out the problem.
"We see no harm in them doing the cleaning, in collaboration with the local marine authorities and the Portuguese Environment Agency," said Pacheco, noting that already he had recommended to the council that the algae was to be buried rather than dumped at sea.
The hospital in Faro says is has no records of recent cases involving algae and the man who could put us all in the picture, Olhão’s mayor António Pina, is not answering his phone.