Quality of Europe’s bathing waters remains high, latest annual assessment finds

bathing

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The quality of Europe’s bathing water remains high, according to this year’s European bathing water quality assessment published today. Just under 85% of swimming sites across Europe monitored in 2019 met the European Union’s highest and most stringent ‘excellent’ quality standards.

The results published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission give a good indication where swimmers can find the best quality bathing waters. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak and restrictive measures put in place across Europe, members of the public are advised to seek updated information from local and national authorities and beach operators about safety measures at bathing sites. To help Member States gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen, after months of lockdown, while respecting necessary health precautions the Commission presented on 13 May a package of guidelines and recommendations.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner in charge of the 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.”

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said:“Regular monitoring and assessment of bathing water are essential for ensuring that we maintain the already very high quality across Europe and, where needed, we take effective measures to address water pollution. Cleaner bathing waters do not only benefit our own health and well-being but also the health of the environment.”

Almost all of the 22,295 bathing water sites monitored last year across Europe (of which 21,981 were in the then 28 Member State EU including the United Kingdom) met the minimum quality requirements according to the briefing. Albania and Switzerland also monitored and reported on the quality of their bathing water sites and their data are included in the assessment.

Specific results showed only minor drops in sites meeting the highest ‘excellent’ standards, and the minimum ‘sufficient’ quality requirements set out in the EU’s Bathing Water Directive. ‘Excellent’ quality bathing water sites across Europe stood at 85%. Those meeting the least minimum ‘sufficient’ standing stood at 95%. The briefing also found that the quality of coastal swimming sites is better than those located inland.

The number of overall ‘poor’ rated sites stood at 1.3% of all sites monitored in Europe last year. That figure has not fluctuated much since 2013, when the figure stood at 2%, reflecting the long-term improvements in bathing water quality in Europe.

Europe’s bathing water quality has vastly improved over the last 40 years, when the EU’s Bathing Water Directive was introduced. Effective monitoring and management introduced under the directive, combined with other EU environmental legislation such as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (1991), led to a drastic reduction in untreated or partially treated municipal and industrial waste water ending up in bathing water. As a result, more and more sites are not only meeting the minimum quality standards but have also improved their quality to the highest standards. Alongside this year’s report, the EEA has also released an updated interactive map showing the performance of each bathing site. Updated country reports are also available, as well as more information on the implementation of the directive in countries.

The Commission intends to launch an evaluation of the directive in the coming weeks with the intention to analyse what has worked and not. On that basis, the Commission will decide whether additional initiatives should be taken to improve the functionning of the directive.

Background

All EU Member States, plus Albania and Switzerland, monitor their bathing sites according to the provisions of the EU’s Bathing Water Directive. The assessment of the bathing water quality under the Bathing Water Directive makes use of the values of two microbiological parameters: Intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli.

The legislation specifies if the bathing water quality can be classified as ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘sufficient’ or ‘poor’, depending on the levels of faecal bacteria detected. Where water is classified as ‘poor’, EU Member States should take certain measures, such as banning bathing or advising against it, providing information to the public, and taking suitable corrective actions.

The contamination of water by faecal bacteria continues to pose a risk to human health, especially if it is found at bathing water sites. Swimming at contaminated beaches or lakes can result in illness. The major sources of pollution are sewage and water draining from farms and farmland. Such pollution increases during heavy rains and floods due to sewage overflow and polluted drainage water being washed into rivers and seas.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UPDATED: Guterres condemns armed attack against UN peacekeepers in Mali

Discussions kick off among MEPs and national MPs on economic governance

Energy security: The synchronisation of the Baltic States’ electricity networks – European solidarity in action

Why Renewable Energy is an attractive investment

Erasmus+ will finance existing UK-EU mobility in the event of no-deal Brexit

GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa: Rise of the Digital Citizen, Kigali 16 – 18 July 2019, in association with The European Sting

The impact of mobile and rapid digital adoption on how India consumes

Scientists studied microbes feeding on Antarctica’s first methane leak – here’s what they found

Responding to the anger

How to turn a traditional business into a platform-based success

The cost of healthcare is rising in ASEAN. How can nations get the most for their money?

How face masks, gloves and other coronavirus waste is polluting our ocean

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Carbon Price Needed for Climate Change Success

MEPs boost support for EU research and Erasmus

Providing mental health during pandemic times

UN health emergency committee to re-convene on global threat posed by China coronavirus

GSMA outlines new developments for Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

How to turn Africa’s manufacturing sector into a high-tech powerhouse

ILO: Progress on gender equality at work remains inadequate

Monday’s Daily Brief: WFP mulls ‘last resort’ Yemen aid suspension, top peacekeeping awardee announced, abuzz over Bee Day, Ebola threat ‘very high’

UN chief praises Japanese climate resilience, as Typhoon Hagibis cleanup begins

How to outsmart bias when you’re recruiting

UN genocide adviser welcomes historic conviction of former Khmer Rouge leaders

EU and Indian flags at EU-India Summit in New Delhi last October (copyright EU 2018, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service)

India and the EU get close to revive talks on proposed Free Trade Agreement

Climate change hits the poor hardest. Mozambique’s cyclones prove it

The future of manufacturing is smart, secure and stable

EU Trust Fund for Africa: new migration-related actions to protect vulnerable people and foster resilience of host communities in North of Africa

Security Council beats midnight deadline, renews Syria cross-border aid in contentious vote

What will higher education in Africa look like after COVID-19?

Antitrust: Commission publishes report on the impact of the Interchange Fees Regulation

UN chief calls for Security Council to work with Myanmar to end ‘horrendous suffering’ of Rohingya refugees

EU Cohesion Policy invests over €1.4 billion in green projects in 7 Member States

Countries urged to make ‘digital world’ safer for children

Systems leadership can change the world – but what exactly is it?

Court of Auditors: EU spending infested with errors well above the materiality threshold of 2%

What’s everyone talking about at Davos 2020?

UN health experts warn ‘dramatic resurgence’ of measles continues to threaten the European region

Future of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh ‘hangs in the balance’ – UNHCR chief

St. Vincent and the Grenadines breaks a record, as smallest ever Security Council seat holder

New EU short-stay visas: more advantages for legitimate travellers

A Sting Exclusive: “Seize the opportunity offered by Africa’s continental free trade area”, written by the Director General of UNIDO

Germany to re-invent its security position in Europe and a chaotic world

Commission approves emergency measures to protect eastern Baltic cod

From underestimation to valorization: how mobile technology is transforming global health

EU agrees on Ukraine – Georgia visa-free travel amid veto risks and populist fears

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

There’s a global learning crisis and it’s leaving millions without basic skills

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of DSME by HHIH

Why we need to start a new pro-vaccine movement

Nearly 900 reportedly killed following ‘shocking’ intercommunal attacks in DR Congo

Advice on fighting COVID-19 from the Red Cross, a chemist and academics around the world: Today’s coronavirus updates

Mental health and suicide prevention: why focus on primary care

How energy infrastructure is shaping geopolitics in East Asia

He died so I could live: UN peacekeeper pays tribute to fallen colleague

Redistribution of seats in the European Parliament after Brexit

UN experts urge Turkey to repatriate Irish woman associated with terror group

Political solutions ‘prerequisite to sustainable peace’, Lacroix tells Security Council

Darfur peace process at a ‘standstill’ as demonstrations against Sudanese Government continue

A money laundering case on Vatican Bank’s road to renovation

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s