Bulgaria scores well on EU bathing waters survey, ‘excellent’ sites number up

Bulgaria’s coastal bathing waters remain up to the European Union’s mandatory standards, with the number of sites meeting the “excellent quality” standards recording an increase in 2018, the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) annual report on the quality of bathing waters in the EU, released on June 6, showed.

Out of 95 bathing sites in Bulgaria, all but two met the “sufficient quality” standards, a rate of 97.9 per cent, identical to the ratio recorded a year earlier.

Of the two sites that did not meet the mandatory standards, one was not sampled frequently enough to allow quality classification and the other scored poorly on the EEA scale – that site, the Ofitserski Plazh in the port city of Varna, has scored as “poor quality” every year since 2013.

A total of 52.6 per cent of sites tested by the EEA in Bulgaria scored as “excellent quality” in 2018 (up from 44.2 per cent a year earlier), and 37.9 per cent were “good quality”.

Bulgaria’s share of “excellent quality” bathing waters was the second-lowest registered in the EU in 2018, when 85.1 per cent of all the bloc’s bathing waters met such criteria, only slightly higher than the 85 per cent recorded in 2017.

A further 10.3 per cent of the EU bathing waters scored as good or sufficient quality, while 1.3 per cent scored poorly and 3.2 per cent could not be properly assessed due to insufficient data.

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “As yesterday’s World Environment Day showed, we face many challenges. But it is also good to celebrate the green success stories of the European Union. The quality of European bathing water sites is one such story to which everyone can relate.”

“Through good testing, reporting, monitoring and sharing of expertise, we are sure to continue improving the quality of our favourite swimming spots. Our new Environmental Implementation Review will help Member States learn from each other how best to attain and keep the excellent standards we have achieved during the course of my mandate.”

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said: “Our report confirms that member states’ efforts over the last 40 years, mainly in wastewater treatment, have paid off. Today, most Europeans enjoy excellent bathing water quality. However, this is only one of the many components, ranging from tackling plastic pollution to protecting marine life, we need to work on in order to achieve healthier seas, lakes and rivers.”

Every year, the 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.

The full report is available here and an interactive map of all bathing sites covered by the report can be seen here.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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