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Zoomarine Water and Animal Park on the road to carbon neutrality / Parque Aquático e Animal Zoomarine no caminho para a neutralidade carbónica

Renewable energy sources play a key role in reducing climate change and protecting the environment. Aware of this, Zoomarine Water and Animal Park takes another big step in its mission to contribute to environmental sustainability. Taking advantage of the Algarve’s privileged solar exposure, an additional 2’550 photovoltaic modules were installed in the Park. This represents a removal of almost 2 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, equivalent to the carbon capture of 929 hectares of forest per year, or the removal of 404 vehicles from the road per year. These solar panels are in addition to two other installations at the theme park, with a combined power of 110 kVA and an area of 1,835m2. With the completion of the project, Zoomarine will have a photovoltaic installation that will provide a total power of 999 kVA. With an annual production of 2.6 MWh, Zoomarine can ensure that about 50% of the park’s energy needs are met with its own green production. This is another investment in the constant evolution towards a more sustainable park, always bearing in mind the pillar values of conservation and protection of the environment and its species. In recent years, Zoomarine has been investing in a number of other measures and projects to reduce the environmental impact of the park’s operation, with the digitisation of services, continuous improvements in waste management, use of organic and biodegradable solutions in the maintenance of green spaces, fleet renewal for electric vehicles and replacement of single-use plastics in the restaurant areas with biodegradable equivalents. An example of this commitment is the adoption of water saving measures, where the Park made significant investments: a Wastewater Recycling and Reuse System includes a tertiary (biological) treatment plant and will be the first in the country installed in water and animal parks. It has been 4 years in development, having started with a strategic study led by LNEC – National Laboratory of Civil Engineering. After having invested in the construction of a 4.7-kilometre pipeline that allows the capture (and subsequent return) of sea water, with this new system water savings will be made not only at the level of salt water (for zoological habitats, rehabilitation centre, public swimming pools and slides), but also at the level of fresh water (garden irrigation and similar). This new Wastewater Recycling and Reuse System will allow annual savings of many hundreds of thousands of litres of water in the irrigation of gardens, animal nurseries and the like, in a water-intensive activity and in a region that has been experiencing severe drought for several years. The third phase of the investment will be the reinforcement of rainwater utilisation, which will allow Zoomarine to have an even smaller environmental footprint.