By Andria Kades
Cyprus is among the top three countries in the EU with the cleanest beaches scoring 100 per cent, according to a study by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Tied with Malta and Luxemburg, the results show that all bathing sites in these countries “had excellent water quality” for 2014 and were followed by Greece, Croatia and Germany, which had 97 per cent, 94 per cent and 90 per cent respectively.
Cyprus also topped the charts in last year’s report while the cleanliness of EU bathing waters had a 0.5 per cent increase since 2013 to 95 per cent.
“Good bathing water quality is critically important for Europeans. It plays a large role in helping people to plan holidays and leisure activities,” the report said.
The results are a compilation of data gathered in 2014 indicating the quality of bathing water expected for this summer.
“I am glad to see that the quality of Europe’s bathing waters is consistently very high and continues to improve. It shows that policies work and contribute to our quality of life when they are ambitious, well-defined and well-implemented,” EEA Executive Director, Hans Bruyninckx said.
On the other side of the of the scale Romania scored the lowest with 22 per cent of its beaches clean while Albania and Poland were just above with 36 and 56 per cent respectively.
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “At some point we are all tourists, passing some time on the beach. It is obvious that clean and safe bathing waters are important for us to stay healthy and the good news is that bathing waters continue to improve.”
There were 21,538 bathing waters identified in Europe in 2014, some 21, 255 of which were in the 28 EU Member States. Switzerland and Albania have also monitored and reported on the quality of their waters.
Local authorities collect water samples at selected bathing sites throughout the bathing season. The samples are then analysed for two types of bacteria, which indicate pollution from sewage or livestock. Polluted water can have impacts on human health, causing stomach upsets and diarrhoea if swallowed.
Depending on the levels of bacteria detected, the bathing water quality is classified as ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘sufficient’ or ‘poor’.