Around 85% of swimming sites across Europe monitored in 2017 met the European Union`s highest and most stringent `excellent` quality standards for waters mostly free from pollutants, according to the latest annual European bathing water quality report published today. Cyprus comes third with 97.3%, after Luxembourg (100%) and Malta (98.9%), followed by Greece (95.9%).
More specifically, in Cyprus 113 coastal bathing waters were controlled, 991 samples taken and 98% of them were of “good or excellent quality”. In practice there were no sites that did not meet the criteria, but two specific cases could not be classified.
According to the country data published today, nearly all 21.801 bathing water sites monitored last year across Europe, of which 21.509 were in the 28 EU Member States (95.9%), met the minimum quality requirements under EU rules according to the report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission. Albania and Switzerland also monitored and reported on the quality of their 292 bathing water sites.
Specific results from monitoring showed a small drop in EU sites meeting the highest `excellent` and the minimum quality requirements set out by the EU`s Bathing Water Directive. `Excellent` quality standards across Europe dropped marginally from 85.5% in 2016 to 85% last year. Similarly those meeting minimum `sufficient` standing fell from 96.3% to 96.0%. The reason for the slight drop was due mostly to the effect of summer rain on test results as well as changes in testing methodology in Romania and Sweden.
The number of overall `poor` rated sites remained mostly unchanged from 2016 across the EU, Albania and Switzerland, dropping from 1.5% in 2016 to 1.4% in 2017.
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said on the occasion of the publication: “The quality of our bathing water is a source of pride for Europeans. That quality is due to good cooperation and constant vigilance. We all play a part: industry, local authorities and services together with citizens. We are happy to report that the European spirit of cooperation on bathing water is alive and continues to deliver for our citizens. When you add in our recently proposed measures to keep plastics out of our seas, it really has been a good year for European seas, beaches and lakes.”