The majority of Greece’s swimming areas are clean and free of pollutants harmful to human health and the environment, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said this week in its annual European bathing water quality report.
The report, which covers bathing water locations across Europe and includes lakes and rivers, said that in 2018, Greece identified and reported 1,598 bathing waters, accounting for 7.2 percent of all bathing waters in Europe.
Overall in the EU, 85 percent of bathing water sites were found to be clean and 95.4 percent of the 21,831 bathing water sites monitored in the 28 member states met the minimum quality requirements under EU rules.
Greece is among four EU countries, where 95 percent or more of bathing sites were found to have excellent water quality. Cyprus is in first place with 99.1 percent of all sites, followed by Malta at 98.9 percent, and Austria with 97.3 percent. Greece is fourth with 97 percent of all its swimming sites.
At the same time, all reported bathing water sites in Greece, together with Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania and Slovenia were of at least sufficient quality in 2018.
Countries found to have the poorest quality bathing water sites were Italy with 89 bathing water sites (1.6 percent), France with 54 sites (1.6 percent), and Spain with 50 sites (2.2 percent). Spain and Italy marked a rise in poor quality bathing sites against 2017 figures.
“Our report confirms that member states’ efforts over the last 40 years, mainly in wastewater treatment, have paid off. Today, most Europeans enjoy excellent bathing water quality. However, this is only one of the many components, ranging from tackling plastic pollution to protecting marine life, we need to work on in order to achieve healthier seas, lakes and rivers,” said Hans Bruyninck, EEA executive director.
The quality of monitored bathing waters is assessed based on two microbiological parameters (-escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci) as defined in the Bathing Water Directive.