Lisbon, 29 May 2006 Beginning on 1 June, the official start of the summer holiday season, the Vodafone Portugal Foundations Healthy Beach project will be adding around 30 new beaches this year, bringing its coverage to nearly 100 beaches.
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 project aims to improve safety, environmental quality and accessibility for people with special needs.
Over the three years of the projects life, it will provide important lifesaving equipment (in particular, jet skis and floating stretchers), install a basic, publicly accessible communications network, and provide mobile phones and a telephone number for every lifeguard station.
Access for the disabled will be 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.
This year, environmental and safety awareness programmes will be implemented on over 40 beaches. These will include various light-hearted approaches including games and puppet shows for children illustrating the risks of careless behaviour, and information will be provided on how to enjoy the beach and the sea safely through simple, fun informative activities.
The Healthy Beach project also benefits from the Vodafone Portugal Foundations support for the Lifeguard Programme organised by the European Blue Flag Association.
This initiative, launched in 2005 for a three year period, involves investment of 1.9 million euros and the donation of systems and equipment including:
– 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