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Europe’s bathing waters continue to meet rigorous standards

Almost 85% of Europe's bathing water sites meet high standards

The annual EEA Bathing Water report, published 3 June, shows that almost 85% of Europe’s bathing water sites met the highest standards in 2021, reassuring bathers where they can find the best – and most safe – bathing sites across Europe.

The report finds that, in 2021, the minimum water quality standards were met at 95.2% of sites. In Austria, Malta, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Denmark and Germany, 90% or more of bathing waters meet the ‘excellent’ quality standard.

The quality of Europe's bathing water has greatly improved over past decades due to systematic monitoring and management introduced under the EU’s Bathing Water Directive and other EU environmental laws including the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

The Bathing Water Directive (BWD) requires Member States to monitor and assess bathing water for at least two parameters of (faecal) bacteria. They must inform the public about bathing water quality and beach management.

The European Commission is currently reviewing the Bathing Water Directive to assess whether the current rules are still fit for purpose to protect public health and improve water quality or if there is a need to improve the existing framework, notably by addressing new parameters.

Waste water operators have a key role to play in keeping our bathing waters clean and safe. We want the Directive to retain its current scope while applying the WHO recommendations and keeping the Directive focused on the health of bathers.

Alongside this year's Bathing Water 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 assessment, put together by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in cooperation with the European Commission, is based on the monitoring of 21 859 bathing sites across Europe. These cover the EU Member States, Albania and Switzerland throughout 2021.

Source : EEA

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