Drought levels still not deemed bad enough to limit private water usage
Even given the current drought situation experienced mainly in the south Portugal, the minister of the environment and climate action, Duarte Cordeiro, has for the time being ruled out prohibitive measures regarding water consumption, such as for swimming pools, lawn irrigation, etc.
"There is no point in introducing a prohibition culture when it is not yet necessary. When it is necessary, we will not hesitate, as happened when we limited, for example, certain dams in the Monte da Rocha area, or the decision that was taken by the agriculture minister, to limit new crops in the Mira river area," Duarte Cordeiro told reporters in Porto on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the launch of the public tender for construction of the Rubi metro line.
The minister had been asked about possible bans, for example on private swimming pools, and about exceptional measures taken following the drought situation particularly in the south of the country.
"Some exceptional measures have already been taken," he said, after an inter-ministerial drought commission was convened "at the end of April", Duarte Cordeiro told journalists.
According to the minister, at that meeting the most critical areas were identified: the western Algarve and the coastal area of Alentejo, "namely the area of the Mirar river, associated with the Santa Clara dam".
"There are restrictions that we have applied to a number of dams, both in the Alentejo, and in the Western Algarve area, and there are restrictions on new crops for the Mira zone."
Duarte Cordeiro also recalled that currently, "in general, at this moment, the country has more water available than it had last year", with an average level of 80% of water in reservoirs.
"At the moment we have an unequal situation, in some areas of the country we don't anticipate having a water supply problem yet. We have two areas of the country, the Alentejo coast and the Western Algarve, where we have had to apply measures to rationally manage the resources we have available," he explained.
The meteorological drought situation worsened in mainland Portugal in April, with 89% of mainland territory in drought, 34% of which in severe and extreme drought, according to the national meteorological institute, IPMA. Just over 40% of the south of the country is in drought.
Young Spanish meteorologist says the ants predict rain in May
There has been no 'rain' for many weeks in several Spanish territories, just as it has been here. But a young Spanish meteorologist has predicted that May will see some much needed rain in the Iberian Peninsula, according to 'the movements of ants'.
Jorge Rey, passionate about the subject of meteorology, published a video on Youtube channel predicting a change in the weather, thanks to the ant movements he has observed.
Animals are sensitive to climate changes, especially ants, which can detect subtle atmospheric changes with their antennae. Ants move their nests to a higher altitude or with build different materials when it is going to rain.
Ant prediction is a traditional, unscientific method based on observation that has been used for many years, and according to his observations Jorge predicts that within a few days, “Atlantic storms will come to the Iberian Peninsula”. The rain will come to “end the drought”.
The situation of meteorological drought worsened in mainland Portugal in April, with 89% of the mainland in drought, 34% of which in severe and extreme drought, according to the IPMA.
In one month, the dry area in mainland Portugal almost doubled compared to March, when it was 48%.
April was the 4th hottest April since 1931 (the hottest was in 1945), with three heat waves recorded in mainland Portugal, which affected the interior regions of North and Centre, Tagus valley, Alentejo and Eastern Algarve.
Lets all hope that the ants have got it right, and Jorge's predictions come true, bringing our countries the arrival of rain that they so urgently need.
Smoking on covered terraces and near schools and colleges to be banned this year?
If the Government's bill is approved by the Assembly of the Republic tomorrow, cigarrettes will no longer be available via vending machines and smoking in outdoor spaces close to public buildings will be prohibited.
If the new law goes ahead, It will no longer be possible to sell tobacco directly or through vending machines in places such as restaurants, bars, concert halls and venues, casinos, game rooms, fairs and exhibitions from 2025.
Smoking in outdoor spaces, within the perimeters of buildings with public access, such as schools, colleges or hospitals, will be prohibited from 23rd October this year, 2023.
Also at music festivals, where there is "an very aggressive marketing to promote the purchase and use of tobacco and even other tobacco products, namely heated tobacco", it will be forbidden to sell these products.
Amendments to the law expected to be approved this Thursday
The objective is to restrict the sale of tobacco to tobacconists or similar and in airports from January 2025. These alterations to the Tobacco Law were motivated essentially by the need to transpose the European directive of 29 June 2022 into national legislation, which equates heated tobacco with other tobacco products, prohibiting the sale of heated tobacco with flavourings.
The Secretary of State for Health Promotion, Margarida Tavares, stressed, “the focus is really on health promotion”, which involves “disincentivizing tobacco consumption and also reducing the possibility of access to tobacco, that is, the sale of tobacco”.
Therefore, the rules regarding smoking in closed spaces with public access, where there are already “great restrictions” , will be tightened.
“Basically, there are no longer any places where you can smoke”, with the exception of some restaurants, bars and nightclubs which, as a result of legislation, installed equipment in January this year that allows “separate and protected spaces for smokers” and which they will be able to maintain until 2030.
There are also “very specific” exceptions such as airports or other places where it is not possible to go somewhere to smoke. Margarida Tavares highlighted the restriction of the possibility of smoking in outdoor spaces, within the perimeters of buildings with public access, such as hospitals, health centers, schools or colleges, as the "most revolutionary" alteration - a measure that should come into effect on 23rd October 2023.
“In some places, such as prisons, perhaps it would be a little unfair for us to do the same thing” , she said, explaining that it is possible to delimit a properly marked space where it is possible to smoke.
Goal “is to create a tobacco-free generation by 2040”
The minister explained that the aim is to create more and more environments that "ensure people have the best options for their health" , but also to discourage tobacco consumption and limit access, especially to younger people, so that they do not start to smoke.
“We want to create a tobacco-free generation by 2040 and we really believe that this is possible” , said Margarida, stressing that the path that has been followed in Portugal and in other countries has yielded results.
Since the Tobacco Law came into force in 2007, “many things have changed”, with a “very important” reduction in the prevalence and initiation of tobacco use.
In 2005/2006, the 20.9% of the population were smokers, a figure that dropped to 20% in 2014, and to 19% in 2019.
“We have been implementing restrictions on places where it is possible to smoke and on points of sale for years, as well as other warnings that were placed and this had a very significant impact, particularly on young people”, stated Margarida, recalling a study by the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto which found that, in 2003, 19.9% of young people aged 13 had already tried tobacco, while in 2018 only 3.9% had done so.
IPO of motorcycles will become mandatory as of January 1, 2024
The measure for motorcycles to be inspected, regularly, just as other road vehicles are, has been planned since 2012, but the measure was never put in place. However, the new law will finally come in to place next year.
The new obligation to inspect motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles with a cylinder capacity greater than 125 cm3, as well as trailers and semi-trailers, will come in to force on January 1, 2024.
Electric vehicles and agricultural vehicles are excluded, only road vehicles with a combustion engine (i.e. gasoline or diesel) will be subject to the mandatory IPO inspections.
New motorbikes, tricycles and quad bikes (which include quad bikes and small four-wheel vehicles) with more than 125 cc will have to go for their first inspection “five years after the date of the first registration”. Older vehicles will need to have their inspection in the month before the date of the first registration.
Ongoing, the motorcycle, tricycle and quadricycle inspection will be biennial.
Portimão will host an emergency, civil protection and security fair
This will be a unique opportunity to hear in English from the experts about risk communication and interpretation of warning and alert systems.
Between May 18th and 20th, the Portimão Arena and the Fairs and Exhibitions Park will host ALGARSAFE´23 – Portimão International Civil Protection and Relief Fair, in an initiative co-organized by the Portimão City Council and the Bombeiros de Portimão,, with the support from the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection, also counting on institutional partners of national reference, such as the National School of Firefighters, the National Institute of Medical Emergency, the Authority for Working Conditions and Safe Communities Portugal, among others.
On Saturday 20th May 2023, from 12:00 to 13.00 hrs at Portimão Arena and the Fairs and Exhibitions Park, there will be a group presentation with questions and answers on “Risk Communication for Foreign Communities” facilitated by Safe Communities Portugal.
Considered the largest fair of its kind in the south of the Tagus, ALGARSAFE´23 will be attended by over 65 public and private entities, including providers and suppliers of goods and services in the area of security and civil protection, as well as Civil Protection Agents and cooperating entities of the Integrated Protection and Rescue Operations System at national level.
A unique opportunity to visit a space dedicated “body and soul” to emergency, civil protection and security.
A commercial space for those looking for the best solutions and equipment, with thematic, pedagogical and discussion forums on current issues, training for those responsible for protecting, saving or even preventing, unprecedented moments to understand the functioning of the Civil Protection System in Portugal, as well as actions aimed at those who want to learn to be more aware and prepared in their self-protection.
An event aimed equally at families, with playful opportunities where children can even trigger the sirens of vehicles!
About The Group Presentation
Synopsis: Session will be delivered in English, involving the different players in risk communication and interpretation of warning and alert systems, with the participation of:
Republican National Guard
Institute of Nature Conservation and Forestry
National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority
Municipality of Civil Protection of Portimão
The event is open to the general public and all are welcome to attend.
Registration can be made at the ALGARSAFE’23 secretarial desk on the day, or by email: email@example.com.