Proposal for an integral quality index for urban and urbanized beaches

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A composite index, based on function analysis and including thirteen sub-indices, was developed to assess the overall quality of urban and urbanized beaches in the Mediterranean area. The aggregation of components and sub-indices was based on two questionnaires completed by beach users and experts. Applying the new Beach Quality Index (BQI) demonstrated that the quality of beaches could be improved. In general, the strongest aspects of the beaches assessed were those related to short-term user demand, and the weakest were those related to the consequences of human pressure on the area, in particular, erosion problems. The composite index is intended to be used together with Environmental Management Beach Systems (EMBs) as a hierarchical management scorecard and in monitoring programs. This new tool could also make planning more proactive by synthesizing the state of the most important beach processe ​
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