The Association of Public Health Inspectors of Canary Islands denounces that the most important beaches of Tenerife “They are not subjected to sanitary surveillance”, something that the Health Department of the regional Executive denies, since it considers that “the analyzes have never been suspended and everything is correct in this regard.” The inspectors underline “due to the lack of material and human resources”, the coastal spaces with the greatest number of bathers and users -such as TheresitasLas Gaviotas, El Bollullo, Las Vistas, El Duque, Torviscas, The Americas o Las Galletas– “they are not sampled or subjected to the corresponding inspection of the state of the sand or the water by the Pharmaceutical Technicians who are legally empowered to do so.”
These beaches, according to sources, “have not been visited by inspectors for years – an interval of between five and seven, they point out -” and. They add that “they are tested by unqualified external personnel, with which neither safety nor health for users and bathers is guaranteed.”
The group explains that, as established by the Sanitary Surveillance Program for Bathing Areas of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, “the Pharmaceutical Technicians of Public Health are responsible for visual inspection, taking samples of bathing water and the sanitary assessment of the actions, without prejudice to others that may be necessary”.
The legislation, the entity points out, makes it clear that “it is up to us to carry out the analyses, including the visual inspection of the sand on all the beaches of the Canary Islands.” They add that “this has not been the case in the main ones in Tenerife for years.” The lack of material means, “something recurring”, as they denounce, “prevents it.”
Faced with this situation, they detail, “what the city councils do is prepare the analyzes themselves with people who are neither qualified nor trained to do so.” Subsequently, the technicians receive the samples in the laboratories and carry out the analysis to draw up the mandatory results analysis report. «Normally, they value, they are made ad hoc; that is to say, they are taken at the time of interest, when there are no people, for example at seven in the morning, with the cleanest sand or on a certain chosen day ». Therefore, they conclude, “the sample is always favourable, but without any guarantee that this is true.”
The lack of personnel and means, they point out, “is an almost structural problem with the administration.” They consider that the 44 technicians in Tenerife, 19 of them specifically for beaches, are “insufficient”.
The inspectors thus informed the Canarian Health Service (SCS) on which they depend. Even on March 16, 2022, they signed a commitment document with the former director, Conrado Domínguez, to “provide us with the means”, but “today we are still waiting.” They remember that “we did it with our private vehicle until it was unaffordable and we brought it to the attention of the Court.” The inspectors doubt some blue flags awarded on the south coast of Tenerife because “the samples on which they are based are not rigorous or reliable, since they are not subject to the official sampling required as a basic criterion.”
The Ministry of Health explains that “the water quality of the beaches of the Canary Islands, including Tenerife, is analyzed normally.” The Directorate of the Island’s Health Area elaborates that “the inspection work of that water quality has not been suspended and the sample collection campaign continues to be carried out.” They also add that “city councils, as beach managers, can also carry out analyzes of both water and sand.”
The public health inspectors of the Government of the Canary Islands They mobilized in September of last year before the regional Parliament to denounce their situation, which, according to sources, “has practically not changed.” Then they pointed out that they do not inspect “not even 40% of what is programmed each year”, although their work is key to controlling, among other aspects, the quality of food or the sanitary levels in hospitals and schools. Officials already felt “cheated” by the former director of the Canary Islands Health Service (SCS), Conrado Domínguez. They pointed out that “there are no means to go to a cheese factory, a winery, an urgent action on a beach or a food alert.” They warned that in some cases they had to go by bus both on the way out and on the return despite the fact that the return “required complying with the cold chain.” They indicated areas of the South such as Santiago del Teide o Guía de Isora with “a year and a half without a Public Health inspector” | JDM