Cyprus has the best water quality in Europe; The United Kingdom and Poland are in last place
In the European Union, bathing water in 93 per cent of coastal resorts met the minimum quality standards required last year. The highest score was recorded in Cyprus, followed by Austria, Greece, Malta and Croatia. This is the result of a study conducted by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission, based on a survey in 31 countries.
Inadequate quality was measured in only 1.3 percent of all sites surveyed. However, a number of environmental groups warn that the results of the study do not reflect the true situation of the waters of Europe.
“The quality of bathing water in Europe remains at a high level,” said Virginius Sinkevichos, European Commissioner for the Environment, commenting on the figures. “This is good news for Europeans visiting beaches and seaside resorts this summer.”
Cyprus tops the list with 100 percent, followed by Austria (97.7 percent), Greece (97.1 percent), Malta (96.6 percent) and Croatia (95.1 percent). Among the main holiday destinations, Italy achieved the highest quality (88.6%), followed by Spain (88.5%) and France (77.5%).
In Belgium, 81.4 percent of the sites surveyed showed excellent quality. In addition, 96.6 percent met the minimum requirements. Substandard quality has not been reported once.
The United Kingdom recorded the worst performance among all European countries. Only 17.2 per cent of UK sites surveyed reported excellent water quality. Only 22.1 percent were registered in Poland.
In all other countries surveyed, at least 50 percent of the sites had excellent water quality. A level of at least 70 percent has been reported in twenty-four countries.
The Surfrider Europe Foundation, an organization working to protect Europe’s seas, coasts and rivers, stresses that “the results look good, but they do not reflect the true quality of European waters.”
The organization notes that the report addresses only waters that are officially registered as a swimming site. Other recreational sites, intended for water sports such as canoe or kayak, were not analyzed in the study.
Furthermore, the organization adds that not all polluting factors have been taken into account. Pollution from plastic, algae, or chemicals was not taken into account, among other things.
That’s why Surfrider Europe says European bathing water quality standards should be revised.
It also warns that larger droughts in the future could have an impact on water quality. After all, the lack of precipitation will lead to a decrease in the water level in rivers and lakes. The warning reads: “As a result, the concentration of pollutants in bathing water can increase and water quality may decrease.”
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