Bulgaria’s beaches score improvement in 2019 EU bathing waters survey

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 2019, the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) annual report on the quality of bathing waters in the EU, released on June 8, showed.

Out of 95 bathing sites in Bulgaria, all but one met the “sufficient quality” standards, a rate of 98.9 per cent, one percentage point higher than the ratio recorded a year earlier.

The one site that was not classified was the Ofitserski Plazh in the port city of Varna, which had scored as “poor quality” for six years running since 2013.

A total of 65.3 per cent of sites tested by the EEA in Bulgaria scored as “excellent quality” in 2019 (up from 52.6 per cent a year earlier), and 29.5 per cent were “good quality”.

Bulgaria’s share of “excellent quality” bathing waters was the fourth-lowest registered in the EU in 2019, when 84.8 per cent of all the bloc’s bathing waters met such criteria, slightly lower than the 85.1 per cent recorded a year earlier.

A further 10.2 per cent of the EU bathing waters scored as good or sufficient quality, while 1.3 per cent scored poorly and 3.7 per cent could not be properly assessed due to insufficient data.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for environment, fisheries and oceans, said: “Clean bathing water is usually taken as something that is gifted, but it’s actually one of the European collective achievements. It’s the result of hard work by many people over many years.

“This year’s report once again confirms that European citizens can continue to enjoy very high quality standards when bathing in European waters and all measures must be taken to continue along this path.”

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)

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