The quality of sea water around Cyrus remains amongst the best in Europe, despite a slight fall in 2011, EU statistics showed recently.
In Cyprus, 99.1 per cent of the coastal bathing waters were of excellent quality in 2011. This is a decrease of 0.9 per cent compared to the previous year when 100 per cent of the bathing waters met the guide values.
Overall, 92.1 per cent of bathing waters in the European Union now meet the minimum water quality standards set by the Bathing Water Directive.
Annual Bathing Water Report
The results are from the latest annual Bathing Water Report of European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission, which describes water quality in more than 22,000 bathing sites at beaches, rivers and lakes across Europe last year.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potonik said: “I am pleased to note that the quality of Europe’s bathing waters generally remains high, and has improved since last year. A clear majority of Europeans are concerned about water quality issues, and want more information on this. We must therefore continue our work to ensure our waters are appropriate for all legitimate uses – from bathing to drinking – and that the overall aquatic ecosystem is in good health.”
Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, said: “The quality of water at beaches and other bathing spots is one of the most important environmental concerns of European citizens. But in several countries there is still a problem with pollution from agriculture and sewage, so we need to see more efforts to ensure safe and clean water for the public.”
The report found that 77.1 per cent of sites had excellent quality, complying with the most stringent guide values, an improvement of 3.5 percentage points on last year’s data. Some 93.1 per cent of coastal bathing waters were classified as ‘sufficient’, or complying with the less stringent mandatory values.
Less than 2 % of bathing waters were non-compliant.
Cyprus is excellent
“Cyprus, Croatia, Malta and Greece had excellent reports on their bathing water sites, all with more than 90 per cent of bathing water sites meeting the most stringent guide values (excellent quality), and the remainder complying with the mandatory values,” said the report.
“At the opposite end of the scale, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Latvia, Luxemburg and Belgium had relatively low proportions of sites meeting the strict guide values, especially as regards inland waters.”
Bathing water in Europe needs to comply with standards set in the 2006 Bathing Water Directive, which must be implemented by December 2014. The EU publishes an annual summary report on the quality of bathing water, based on reports that the Member States should submit before the end of the previous year. In this year’s report, all 27 Member States as well as Croatia, Montenegro and Switzerland monitored and reported bathing water quality, most of them according to the new provisions.
Two thirds of bathing sites were in coastal waters and the rest in rivers and lakes. The largest number of coastal bathing waters can be found in Italy, Greece, France and Spain, while Germany and France have the highest number of inland bathing waters.
What was measured
Laboratories analysed levels of certain types of bacteria, including intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli bacteria, which may indicate the presence of pollution, mainly from sewage or livestock waste. Sites are classified as compliant with mandatory values, compliant with the more stringent guidelines, or non-compliant.