European Commission: Bathing waters in Europe improve, issues in Bulgaria

Written by on May 23, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on European Commission: Bathing waters in Europe improve, issues in Bulgaria

Of all bathing water sites in Europe, more than 85 percent meet the quality standard “excellent”. This is the outcome of an annual report by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA), the latest of which was just released.

The report does confirm a positive 40-year trend of increasingly cleaner water at beaches and other swimming spots across the continent. Last year, 96.3% of all sites met the “sufficient” quality requirement, which is part of the European Union’s Bathing Water Directive.

An impressive 85.5% of all bathing sites checked provided “excellent” water quality in 2016. A year before, there had only been 84.4% in that category.

The E.U. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “The excellent quality of European Bathing Water sites is not by chance. It is the result of hard work by dedicated professionals.”

In five countries, 95% or more bathing waters are of “excellent” quality. These countries are Luxembourg (all bathing sites), Cyprus (99% of all sites), Malta (99% of all sites), Greece (97% of all sites), and Austria (95% of all sites).

The number of sites of “poor” water quality has decreased. Within the E.U., their number dropped from 349 to 302.

Regarding the percentage of sites with “excellent” water quality per country, there are pretty large differences. While some countries with a lot of beaches and a huge number of tourists per season look excellent, others do not.

In Cyprus and Malta, 99% of all bathing sites provide an “excellent” water quality, in Greece 97%. In Croatia, that percentage stands at 94, in Italy at 91, and in Spain at 85. Bulgaria, another country, which relies on tourism at its beaches, the percentage of bathing sites with excellent water quality is only 65%, while that value for its northern neighbour Romania stands at 70%.

A total of 94 bathing water sites were checked in Bulgaria, 90 of which were beaches. A total of 865 samples were taken. Out of all sites tested, 94% had “good” or “excellent” quality, 98.9% were at least “sufficient”.

The number of sites with “poor” water quality in Bulgaria dropped from 3 in 2015 to 1 in 2016, according to the report by the European Commission. That one beach with poor quality water is “Ofitserski Beach” in Varna.

The entire national report on Bulgaria can be found here.

Several non-governmental organisations in the six countries around the Black Sea are constantly checking the water quality as well, using a broader approach. Recently, many of them painted a much more alarming picture, according to which the Black Sea’s ecosystem is about to fail. A recent article on this, entitled “The Black Sea: A threat to public health” can be found here.

Photo: Taken in Dyuni, Bulgaria, by Lea Marcus.



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