Annual report on bathing waters in Europe reveals weak spots

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Last week the European Environment Agency published the yearly report on the quality of Europe’s bathing waters. EEA concludes 95% of the quality of swim waters in all Member States is sufficient. Five per cent of bathing waters is being called poor. The highest numbers of bathing sites with poor water quality were found in Italy (107 bathing sites, France (105 bathing sites) and Spain (67 bathing sites).

To allow citizens to make an informed choice of beach, the European Union (EU) publishes an annual report on the quality of coastal and inland bathing areas, based on data reported by EU Member States and other European countries. Since 2009, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its European Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine Waters have prepared the report in cooperation with the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment. An interactive map is showing the status of bathing waters in 2014 of every Member State.

Measures
By the end of the 2015 bathing season all bathing waters should be at least 'sufficient' quality and bathing waters with poor quality will only be accepted unless measures to improve the quality are taken. Looking solely at coastal bathing waters, 96.8% of these waters met the minimum quality standards established by the Bathing Water Directive, similar percentage to that achieved in the 2013 bathing season.

Excellent status
There are six countries where 90% or more of bathing waters (whether coastal or inland) have reached excellent quality: Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, and Malta. There are ten countries where all bathing waters are compliant with at least the minimum quality standards: Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The countries with the smallest amount of ‘excellent’ waters are Albania (36%), Romania (22%) and Poland (56%).

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