Quality of Bathing Water in Europe: Best in Cyprus, Worst in Albania

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has released its latest report on the quality of bathing water across Europe. The findings highlight Cyprus as the leader in water quality.

Consistent Monitoring for Safe Bathing in Europe

The EEA conducts regular assessments of bathing waters in the EU to ensure safe swimming conditions in seas, lakes, and rivers. According to the recent report, 85 percent of Europe's bathing waters were rated as excellent in 2023.

Significant Improvement Over the Years

The quality of bathing water in Europe has seen remarkable improvement over the past decades. This progress is largely attributed to systematic monitoring and management under the Bathing Water Directive (BWD), which has significantly reduced the presence of organic pollutants and pathogens from untreated or partially treated urban wastewater.

Monitoring involves collecting water samples before and during the bathing season to test for E. coli and intestinal enterococci, which indicate pollution from wastewater and manure. Based on the bacterial levels, water quality is categorized as "excellent," "good," "sufficient," or "poor."

Top-Quality Waters in Cyprus, Challenges in Albania

The report reveals that European sea waters generally have better quality than rivers and lakes, which are more vulnerable to short-term pollution from heavy rains or droughts. Cyprus, Austria, Croatia, and Greece lead the rankings with over 95 percent of their bathing waters rated as excellent. In Germany, 90.3 percent of bathing waters are considered excellent. Conversely, Albania, Belgium, and Estonia are at the lower end of the spectrum, with less than 70 percent of their bathing waters achieving excellent quality.


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