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Greece among top 5 EU countries with cleanest bathing waters

Greece is among the top five European countries with the cleanest bathing waters, a study by the EU’s European Environment Agency has found. Cyprus is champion with 99.1% of its beaches having excellent water quality.

According to the study by the EU’s environmental service, the European Environment Agency, the quality of bathing water in Europe remains high and Greece is among the top five countries with the cleanest bathing water.

In its 2020 report – based on 2019 data- , the European Environment Agency said that a total of 22,295 bathing water sites have been inspected and , 84.6% had excellent water quality. The study looked at 27 EU countries.

A thorough analysis country by country revealed that in five countries, at least 95% of the water was of excellent quality. These countries are: Cyprus, Austria, Malta, Greece and Croatia.

The champion is Cyprus, with 99.1% of its beaches having excellent water quality, while Greece comes fourth with 95.7%, behind Austria and Malta.

Of the countries studied, Poland was the one with less than 50% of bathing water being described as “excellent”. Albania recorded the highest number of beaches with “poor” quality in their waters (5.9%).

The European Environment Agency points out that the quality of bathing water is generally better in coastal locations than those located inland, with 87.4% of coastal bathing areas being classified as excellent, compared to 79.15% of its inland waters.

In general, the Environment Agency points out that beaches in the Mediterranean have cleaner waters.

The number of overall ‘poor’ rated sites stood at 1.3 % of all sites monitored in Europe last year. That figure has not fluctuated much since 2013, when the figure stood at 2 %, reflecting the long-term improvements in bathing water quality in Europe.

Europe’s bathing water quality has vastly improved over the last 40 years, when the EU’s Bathing Water Directive was introduced. Effective monitoring and management introduced under the directive, combined with other EU environmental legislation such as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (1991), led to a drastic reduction in untreated or partially treated municipal and industrial waste water ending up in bathing water.

As a result, more and more sites are not only meeting the minimum quality standards but have also improved their quality to the highest standards.

Alongside this year’s report, the EEA has also released an updated interactive map showing the performance of each bathing site.

Updated country reports are also available, as well as more information on the implementation of the directive in countries.

The Commission intends to launch an evaluation of the directive in the coming weeks with the intention to analyse what has worked and not. On that basis, the Commission will decide whether additional initiatives should be taken to improve the functioning of the directive, the report notes.

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  1. Thelma C Halawy

    How does Austria even equate in this vote? Austria is a land locked country…NO BEACHES!…. rediculous journalism!