Upon arriving at a popular spot on Maresias beach, in São Sebastião, in the north coast of São Pauloof one thing the bather can be sure: the water will be suitable for him to have fun.
An open beach with adequate water circulation, Maresias has a bathing measurement point that, since it was implemented, has not qualified the site as inappropriate even once.
For almost six years, the water analyzed by Cetesb (an environmental company from São Paulo) in front of Travessa 15 has always been classified as suitable for bathing, unlike what was recorded in other places in São Sebastião and on the beach itself.
The city of São Paulo has 30 points monitored by Cetesb, of which 12 were considered good every week in the period from November last year to October this year. This means that, in all measurements, the place was suitable for bathing.
The data show, however, a drop in relation to the previous season, when 18 beaches were classified as good. There are 13 regular beaches in the current survey, compared to eight last year. The bad ones remained the same: four each year. And 2022 had a bad beach in the city (San Francisco), compared to none in the previous cycle.
In the last week, branches and leaves brought by the tide covered a small strip of sand in Maresias. Those who know the place, however, know that this was not an obstacle to disturb the quality of the sea bath.
“Today it’s darker because of the cold front that came in. A lot of sediment came with the river. But, normally, it’s very clean”, said lifeguard Jéssica Jesus de Oliveira, 27, who is also a marine biologist.
The color of the sand and the very smell of the water are the most noticeable signs that Maresias is a less polluted place.
“I learned to surf on the south coast, but the water here is incomparable. Florida 150 kilometers from São Paulo. If I could, I would live here. I’ve never seen Maresias with dirty water. It’s a paradise,” said publicist Ricardo Adilson Lopes, 44.
Although the quality is very good, the water in Maresias is far from calm for those who want to enter the sea.
“For bathers, it’s terrible. You put your foot in the shallow water and feel the force of the current”, said Lopes.
This water helped in the formation of the three-time surfing world champion Gabriel Medinacreates from the site.
According to local residents, nothing happens by chance on the beach. There are zero waste programs at inns and other facilities use a biodigester, which accelerates the decomposition process of organic matter in the sewage.
Receptionist at Pousada Pé Na Mata, Taina Pereira de Matos, 35, said she was committed to seeing the water clear, as were other people on the beach.
“We have garbage separation, composting. It’s a little ant work to make guests aware”, he said.
Maresias has two points monitored weekly by Cetesb. The other, in front of Praça Benedito João Tavares, was also evaluated as good in the last two years, after four years classified as fair – when it is inappropriate in up to 25% of measurements.
“In addition to rainfall, what influences [a qualidade da praia] is to have an urban occupation nearby and the configuration of this beach, its geomorphology is also important. In the case of Maresias, the beach is wide open, for surfers, with very good water circulation”, said the manager of the coastal water sector at Cetesb, Claudia Lamparelli.
According to her, in these places, the sources of faecal pollution are not very significant and, when they reach the sea, they are easily dispersed.
“Unlike beaches enclosed in bays, which don’t have this water circulation. Maresias is a neighborhood of São Sebastião, it doesn’t have a very significant population, and it has this dispersion.”
A similar situation occurs in Ubatuba, which has areas of small urban occupation and very good dispersal conditions.
While Maresias continues to be suitable for diving, there has been a decline in the quality of the beaches in the state over a 12-month period, according to a survey carried out by the Sheet based on data from Cetesb.
Of the 178 points evaluated by the state body —most of them weekly—, 44 were suitable for bathing every week between November 2021 and October of this year, compared to 59 in the same previous period.
Meanwhile, the beaches rated as fair rose from 61 to 80 and the worst, from 14 to 18.
Another 33 points were evaluated as bad in the two years — in 2021, however, 11 points were not measured due to the pandemic of Covid-1compared to 3 this year.
Lamparelli advises that bathers use the Cetesb app when they arrive at the beaches to check the quality of the place where they intend to enjoy the sea. Another option is to look for the Cetesb flag on the beach. If it is red in color, the place is unsuitable for bathing.