In the latest report, most sites were given an excellent rating for 2012 – the same proportion as in 2011. But more managed a “sufficient” rating than in the previous year.
2012 water testing
The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) annual bathing water report looked at samples from more than 22 000 bathing sites around Europe.
Water was tested for harmful pollutants and bacteria, such as E. coli – possibly from sewage or livestock waste.
Best… and worst performers
The top performers in 2012 were Cyprus and Luxembourg, with all listed bathing sites found to be “excellent”. Malta, Croatia and Greece were the next best, with over 90% rated “excellent”. The worst performers in terms of not meeting minimum standards were Belgium (13%), the Netherlands (7%) and the United Kingdom (6%).
In the UK, 58.2% of 629 bathing sites tested were excellent, 35.6% were of good or sufficient quality, but 37 fell short of the required minimum. Although water quality has improved overall, both the Commission and the EEA want more to be done to ensure all the EU’s waters are suitable for bathing and drinking. This means cutting down on pollution from sewage, improving water drainage from farms and farmland and better control of animal waste affecting beaches.