Malta among best quality bathing water in EU

European Commission and the European Environment Agency’s annual bathing quality report shows that 95% of monitored bathing sites in 2014 met minimum standards for water quality

95% of the monitored bathing sites in the EU met minimum standards for water quality in 2014. Water quality was excellent at 83% of the sites, an increase of almost 1 percentage point compared to 2013.

All the bathing sites in Cyprus, Luxembourg, and Malta were found to have excellent water quality by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency’s annual bathing quality report published today. These countries were followed by Greece (97%), Croatia (94%) and Germany (90%) which all having a high proportion of sites with excellent bathing water quality.

Across Europe, just under 2% of bathing sites failed to meet the Bathing Water Directive’s minimum standards for water quality and were rated ‘poor’.

The report compares the quality of bathing water sampled at more than 21,000 coastal and inland bathing sites across the EU, Switzerland and Albania in 2014. Alongside the report, the EEA has published an interactive showing the performance of each bathing site.

"At some point we are all tourists, passing some time on the beach.  It is obvious that clean and safe bathing waters are important for us to stay healthy and the good news is that bathing waters continue to improve.  So next time you take a dip, remember that the EU played a part in keeping your bathing water safe and clean!" Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said.

"I am glad to see that the quality of Europe's bathing waters is consistently very high and continues to improve. It shows that policies work and contribute to our quality of life when they are ambitious, well-defined and well-implemented," Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director added.

The report showed that while more than 95% of bathing sites met the minimum requirements, 83% met the more stringent ‘excellent’ level, including Malta and only 409 bathing sites, corresponding to less than 2% of the total number, were assessed as having poor bathing water quality. The highest numbers of these sites were found in Italy (107 bathing sites, 2%), France (105 bathing sites, 3%) and Spain (67 bathing sites, 3%).

All coastal beaches in Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus were classified as having excellent bathing water quality. In comparison, 91% of inland bathing waters (lakes and rivers) score at least minimum standards and more than 78% have excellent quality.

In Luxembourg and Bulgaria, all inland bathing sites were rated excellent followed by Denmark where 95% of bathing water lakes had excellent quality. Germany achieved excellent quality at 92% of almost 2,000 inland bathing sites.

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