Lisbon, 6 August 2007 Now in its third consecutive year, the Vodafone Portugal Foundations Healthy Beaches programme this year cover 120 bathing beaches in continental Portugal and the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira.
Stemming from a Co-operation Agreement between the Vodafone Portugal Foundation, the National Maritime Authority, the Water Institute, the Nature Conservation Institute and the European Blue Flag Association, the Healthy Beaches programme started in 2005 and aims to improve beach safety, environmental quality and accessibility for people with special needs.
Over these three years, the programme has provided important lifesaving equipment (jet skis, watch towers and floating stretchers), installed a basic, publicly accessible communications network, and supplied mobile phones and a telephone number for every lifeguard station.
Access for the disabled has been improved through the provision of amphibious wheelchairs, walkways and information panels in Braille.
In environmental terms, the project involves the distribution of ashtrays and ashtray dispensers and the erection of a large number of information posters.
Environmental and safety awareness programmes are also being implemented on over 40 beaches around the country. These include various light-hearted approaches including games for children illustrating the risks of careless behaviour, and information is being provided on how to enjoy the beach and the sea safely through fun educational activities.
The Healthy Beaches programme also includes sponsorship by the Vodafone Portugal Foundation of the Lifeguard Programme on beaches organised by the European Blue Flag Association, involving a total investment of 2 million euros including the donation of systems and equipment such as:
14 jetskis equipped with stretchers for carrying accident victims;
Fuel for the donated jet skis;
250 Healthy Beach signs;
250 mobile phones for lifeguard stations;
Calls on Vodafone Portugals GSM network between these mobile phones during the bathing season;
135 information panels at the approaches to beaches, together with 45 panels in Braille;
125 ashtray dispensers;
Hundreds of thousands of ashtrays;
20 amphibious wheelchairs (Tiralos);
Around 15,000 information posters;
Access walkways to beaches;
T-shirts and caps for the Lifeguard Programme.