Bulgaria with record high number of ‘excellent’ sites in EU bathing waters survey

Bulgaria’s recorded the highest number of coastal bathing waters meeting the “excellent quality” standards in 2021, the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) annual report on the quality of bathing waters in the EU, released on June 3, showed.

The number of “excellent quality” sites in Bulgaria jumped from 58 in 2020, or 60.4 per cent of the country’s total, to 86 in 2021 (89.6 per cent). The previous high was 84 “excellent” sites recorded in 2009.

A total of 96 bathing sites in Bulgaria were included in the survey, with nine locations of “good quality” and one site qualified as “sufficient quality.” For a third year running, there were no sites that scored as “poor quality.”

The sharp increase in “excellent quality” sites puts Bulgaria above the EU average for the first time in more than a decade.

Overall, 84.7 per cent of the 21 859 bathing sites covered by the EEA report met “excellent quality” standards, up from 82.8 per cent a year earlier.

A further 10.5 per cent of the EU bathing waters scored as good or sufficient quality, while 1.6 per cent scored poorly and 3.3 per cent could not be properly assessed due to insufficient data.

“This year’s results is proof that over 40 years of EU action to improve the bathing water quality across Europe has benefited our health as well as the environment. The EU’s Zero Pollution Action Plan and revision of the EU’s Bathing Water Directive will further solidify our commitment to prevent and reduce pollution for decades to come,” EEA executive director Hans Bruyninckx said in a statement.

Every year, the EEA compiles bathing water data gathered by local authorities across the 27 European Union member states, Switzerland and Albania (and the UK prior to this year’s report) – 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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