Bulgaria’s coastal bathing waters remain up to the European Union’s mandatory standards, with nearly three-quarters of the country’s beaches meeting the higher “guide values”, according to the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) annual report on the quality of bathing waters in the EU, released on May 20 2015.
Last year, 69 of the 94 locations sampled by the EEA met the “guide values”, up from 62 a year earlier. But the number of bathing spots failing to meet mandatory values also increased, from one to three – these being the Ofitserski Plazh in the port city of Varna (which also failed the test in 2013 and 2011); the Psov beach in the Zlatni Pyassutsi (Golden Sands) resort, which showed poor quality of water for the third time in four years; and the Popski Plazh in Tsarevo, close to Bulgaria’s border with Turkey, which failed to meet minimum values for the second time in four years.
Overall, this means that 96.8 per cent of Bulgaria’s bathing spots met minimum EU requirements, compared to 99 per cent a year earlier, while the spots with excellent quality increased from 66 per cent to 73.4 per cent. In the EU as a whole, 83.3 per cent of all bathing spots scored excellent marks and 95.1 per cent met mandatory values, the report said.
Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta were the only countries to score excellent marks on all listed bathing sites, while Slovenia and Romania were the only other two countries to meet mandatory values at all sites – although in Romania’s case, only 22 per cent were also meeting “guide values”.
The highest number of poor or non-compliant bathing waters have been found in Italy (107 locations or 1.9 per cent of the total), France (105 spots or 3.1 per cent) and Spain (67 spots or 3.1 per cent). Overall, 404 bathing spots in the EU fell short of the mandatory standards and 628 could not be assessed, out of a total of 21 255.
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the environment said: “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!”
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA executive director, 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.”
Every year, the European Environment Agency (EEA) compiles bathing water data gathered by local authorities across the 28 European Union member states, Switzerland and Albania – measuring levels of bacteria from sewage and livestock. More than two thirds of sites are coastal beaches, with rivers and lakes making up the remainder.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)