Greece finds itself yet again among the top five countries in Europe for the fine quality of its bathing waters, according to a report released this week by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission.
The study, which assessed the quality of bathing waters in 27 EU countries, found that 84.6 percent of 22,295 swimming sites across Europe monitored in 2019 met the European Union’s most stringent quality standards.
According to the EEA findings, Greece ranked fourth with 95.7 percent of bathing waters monitored found to be of “excellent” quality – meeting a series of strict EEA quality standards. In the 2018 report, 97 percent of Greek bathing waters tested were found to be of excellent quality.
In the lead is Cyprus, with 99.1 percent of its beaches ranking for the excellent quality of their waters, followed by Austria, Malta, and Croatia with at least 95 percent of their bathing waters being of excellent quality.
Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Denmark followed completing the top 10.
According to the study, the number of bathing waters in Europe appears to be on the rise with an additional 164 sites compared to the previous year and 813 more than in the 2015 bathing season while two-thirds of all bathing sites are located along the coasts of Europe.
Bathing water quality in Europe remains high with 95 percent of the sites meeting the minimum water quality standards while the share of poor-quality sites is down since 2013.
The quality of coastal sites is generally better than that of inland sites.
“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,” said Hans Bruyninckx, EEA executive director.
It should be noted that Greece has repeatedly been lauded for the cleanliness and quality of its bathing waters and beaches. Last month, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF) announced that Greece was ranked second out of 47 countries with 497 of its beaches receiving the Blue Flag quality award for beaches, marinas and sustainable tourism boats.