Bulgaria with new 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 2022, the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) annual report on the quality of bathing waters in the EU, released on June 10, showed.

The number of “excellent quality” sites in Bulgaria increased from 86, or 89.6 per cent of the country’s total in 2021, to 89 (92.7 per cent). The figure put Bulgaria in the seventh spot among the 27 EU member states.

This year’s number also improves on the one in last year’s survey (86), which had been the highest recorded since systematic monitoring and management was introduced under the Bathing Water Directive, approved by the EU in 2006.

A total of 96 bathing sites in Bulgaria were included in the survey, with seven locations of “good quality”. No sites were qualified as “sufficient quality” and for a fourth year running, there were no sites that scored as “poor quality.”

The increase increase in “excellent quality” sites keeps Bulgaria above the EU average. Overall, 85.7 per cent of the 21 658 EU bathing sites covered by the EEA report met “excellent quality” standards, up from 84.7 per cent a year earlier.

A further 10.1 per cent of the EU bathing waters scored as good or sufficient quality, while 1.5 per cent scored poorly and 2.6 per cent could not be properly assessed due to insufficient data.

“This is great news for all Europeans who demand that the environment we all share and enjoy, including our cherished bathing sites, are as clean as possible,” EEA executive director Leena Ylä-Mononen said in a statement.

This shows that over 40 years of hard work in monitoring and improving our coastal waters, rivers, lakes and ponds is paying off, but it also shows that regular monitoring is vital to positive progress,” she said.

Every year, the EEA compiles bathing water data gathered by local authorities across the 27 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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