Cyprus and Malta were in the top three in the EU for the quality of bathing waters in 2016, a report from the European Environment Agency (EAA), said on Tuesday.
The assessment compiled analyses of water sampled at more than 21,000 coastal and inland bathing sites around Europe.
Of 112 areas checked in Cyprus, 99 per cent were said to be of ‘excellent’ quality. Landlocked Luxembourg had 11 bathing sites checked and scored 100 per cent.
Greece was found to have 97 per cent of its sites fall into the ‘excellent’ category and Austria 95 per cent.
In 2016, 1.5 per cent (1.4 per cent for EU countries) of bathing water sites were rated as having ‘poor’ water quality.
Between the 2015 and 2016 bathing seasons, the absolute number of bathing waters classified as ‘poor’ dropped from 383 to 318 (from 349 to 302 for EU countries). The highest number of bathing sites with ‘poor’ water quality were found in Italy (100 bathing water sites or 1.8 per cent), France (82 sites or 2.4 per cent) and Spain (39 sites or 1.8 per cent)
But more than 85 percent of bathing water sites monitored across Europe in 2016 met the most stringent ‘excellent’ quality standards — meaning they were mostly free from pollutants harmful to human health and the environment.
Over 96 percent of bathing water sites met minimum quality requirements set out under European Union rules.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said: ‘It is encouraging to see that more and more bathing water sites across Europe are meeting the highest quality standards. This helps Europeans make better informed choices about the bathing sites they plan to visit this summer. It also shows the effectiveness of our environmental policies and the practical benefits to human health protection and our daily lives when excellent data collection and analysis are conducted.’