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EU Bathing Water: Quality is generally good, but one in ten inland beaches does not meet EU standards

The Commission presented its annual report on the quality of bathing water…

The Commission presented its annual report on the quality of bathing water. The report offers information about the quality of water millions of Europeans swim in each summer. Last year the vast majority of bathing sites were deemed safe by virtue of complying with the standards of the 1976 Bathing Water Directive. However, inland waters did not fare so well. While 96.7% of coastal sites met the standards, compliance at inland bathing sites such as lakes and rivers has worsened, with one in ten not up to standard.



Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for Environment, said: Generally speaking bathing water quality is good across the EU. But there is certainly scope for improvement. I am particularly concerned at the tendency of some Member States to remove below standard sites from their official list of bathing waters and/or ban bathing at listed sites rather than bring them up to standards. He added that he is determined to achieve not only maximum water quality across the EU, but also work towards making more bathing sites part of the summer fun including inland beaches.



Summary of results



The report covers 19,965 bathing areas in the EU 25, with complete results for 21 Member States. Six of the new Member States submitted full data: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Water quality in these Member States was somewhat lower than in the EU 15. However, it should be noted that many old Member States did not achieve good results until several years after the directive entered force. Malta and Poland submitted partial data. Coastal waters



For coastal bathing areas the 96.7% rate of compliance was barely changed from 2003 (96.8%). Compliance was also rather good in the new Member states, in particular Cyprus (86%) and Slovenia (89.5%).



Inland waters



The percentage of inland bathing sites meeting the standards dropped markedly to 89.4% from 92.3% in 2003. In the new Member States the compliance rate was 46 %.



Negative trends



Two negative trends are common in some older Member States. One is the deletion of sites from their official list of designated bathing areas, making these no longer subject to the directive.

The second is the indefinite banning of bathing at non-compliant listed sites without action being taken to bring the site into compliance. In many cases these practices are being used at sites with chronic pollution problems. Such an approach is not in line with the directive and the Commission intends to discuss this matter with the Member States concerned.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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