Europe’s bathing sites rated clean, safe
COPENHAGEN _ In its annual rite of Spring, the EU Environment Agency issued its 2014 report on the quality of European bathing waters in late May. The news is good: 95% of coastal and inland bathing sites across the EU met the minimum cleanliness requirements, 83% were rated ‘excellent’ and 2% came in as poor.
Coastal sites performed slightly better than inland bathing waters. All bathing sites in Cyprus and Luxembourg were deemed ‘excellent’. These 2 countries were followed by Malta (99 % excellent), Croatia (95 %) and Greece (93 %). In The Netherlands, 96.7% of coastal bathing waters _ and 91.3% of inland sites _ were rated as satisfactory.
The annual bathing water quality report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) tracks the water quality at 22 000 bathing sites across the EU, Switzerland and Albania. Hans Bruyninckx, head of the European environment Agency, said that “Europe’s bathing water has improved over the last two decades. We are no longer discharging such high quantities of sewage directly into water bodies. Today’s challenge comes from short-term pollution loads during heavy rain and flooding. This can overflow sewage systems and wash faecal bacteria from farmland into the rivers and seas.”
The EEA’s ratings are based on levels of 2 types of bacteria which indicate pollution from sewage or livestock. Still, while most bathing sites are clean enough to protect human health, many of the ecosystems in Europe’s water bodies are in a worrying state. This is evident in Europe’s seas – a recent assessment found Europe’s marine ecosystems are threatened by climate change, pollution, overfishing and acidification. .