Bulgaria scores highly again in EU’s annual bathing waters survey

Bulgaria has further improved its score in the European Environment Agency (EEA) annual report on the quality of bathing waters in the EU, exceeding last year’s record high number of bathing water sites meeting EEA’s “excellent quality” standards.

The latest report, based on samples taken throughout 2023 and released on May 28, put the number of “excellent quality” sites in Bulgaria at a new record high of 91, or 94.8 per cent of the country’s total, up from 89 in last year’s report.

Bulgaria’s ratio of “excellent quality” sites was the fifth highest among the 29 countries covered by the report. A total of 96 bathing sites in Bulgaria were included in the survey, with other five sites rated as “good quality.”

It was the second year in row that all Bulgarian bathing waters were ranked as excellent or good quality and five consecutive years without a “poor quality” site.

The increase in “excellent quality” sites keeps Bulgaria well above the EU average. Overall, 85.4 per cent of the 21 766 EU bathing sites covered by the EEA report met “excellent quality” standards, slightly down from 85.7 per cent a year earlier.

A further 10.6 per cent of the EU bathing waters scored as good or sufficient quality, while 1.5 per cent scored poorly and 2.5 per cent could not be properly assessed due to insufficient data.

“It is encouraging to see once again that European citizens can reap the benefits of over 40 years of strong investments in improving the quality of our bathing waters to make them as clean as possible,” EEA executive director Leena Ylä-Mononen said in a statement.

“Continued regular monitoring by the member states of our coastal waters, rivers and lakes and other freshwater will be crucial for our health and wellbeing and for the environment as climate change is leading to more extreme weather like heavy rains which can negatively impact water quality,” 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.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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