For four consecutive years, Greece is in Europe’s Top 3 countries for the exceptional quality of its swimming waters, according to the European Bathing Water Quality report released this week for 2022 by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in cooperation with the European Commission.
More specifically, according to the report which assesses where swimmers can find the cleanest bathing sites in Europe this summer, 95 percent of Greece’s bathing water was found to be “excellent”, placing the country third among 29 countries including sites in all EU member states, Albania and Switzerland. Quality grades awarded are “excellent”, “good”, “sufficient”, or “poor”.
Based on the monitoring results, the majority of exceptional bathing waters in 2022 were found in Cyprus which ranked number 1, followed by Austria, Greece and Croatia.
On the downside, bathing water quality in Malta, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Luxembourg met at least the minimum standard of sufficient quality.
The annual report monitored 21,973 bathing sites in Europe with data and other information regarding bathing water management reported to the EEA.
A total of 1,682 bathing sites were assessed in Greece last year, of which 1,624 were found to be of excellent quality, 17 “good”, and four “sufficient”. There were no sites classified as “poor”.
In the last four years, Greece has been in the lead in terms of swimming water quality garnering an “excellent” grade for 95.7 percent of its bathing sites in 2019, 97.1 percent in 2020, 95.8 percent in 2021, and 96.6 percent in 2022.
Meanwhile, across Europe, the majority of bathing water sites met the EU’s “excellent” water quality standards in 2022.
Other key takeaways of the EEA report include:
-the quality of water at coastal sites, accounting for two-thirds of total bathing spots, is generally better than that of inland river and lake sites
-in 2022, 88.9 percent of the EU’s coastal bathing sites were classified as being of excellent quality as compared to 79.3 percent of inland sites
-since the adoption of the Bathing Water Directive in 2006, the share of “excellent” sites has increased, and stood at 85-89 percent for coastal and 77-81 percent for inland bathing waters
– in 2022, the minimum water quality standards were met at 95.9 percent of all bathing waters in the EU
-the share of bathing waters with poor water quality has dropped in the past decade and has been stable since 2015
– in 2022, bathing waters with poor water quality constituted only 1.5 percent of all bathing waters in the EU demonstrating that the health risk is slowly decreasing in Europe
-bathing water quality at coastal waters is generally better compared to inland waters, due to the more frequent renewal and higher self-purification capacity of open coastal waters
-more than 1,800 European bathing waters, or 8 percent, are located in cities over 100,000 inhabitants, mostly in Greece, France, Italy and Spain, contributing to the quality of life.