92.1% of bathing water in the EU meets the minimum quality standards, according to the latest EU Bathing Water Report
The 2006 Bathing Water Directive set standards for bathing waters throughout the Union. This Directive must be implemented by December 2014. Each year, the European Commission and the European Environment Agency publishes a Bathing Water Report on the quality of coastal and inland waters, based on reports provided by Member States which must be submitted before the end of the previous year. The latest report is based on submissions from all 27 EU Member States, as well as Croatia, Montenegro, and Switzerland.
The 2012 report describes water quality in more than 22,000 bathing sites at beaches, rivers, and lakes across Europe and indicates that 92.1% of bathing water in the EU meets the minimum quality standards. Ireland scored particularly highly on this list, with 98.5% of its bathing waters meeting mandatory water quality in 2011. However, the closure of Clifden Beach in Co. Galway during bathing season means that Ireland now ranks ninth overall in the EU for bathing water quality, down four places from fifth in 2010.
The water quality in Spain, Italy, and Portugal - traditionally the most popular summer holiday destinations - scores well with more than 80% of sites boasting excellent water quality. Cyprus, Croatia, Malta, and Greece fare similarly well with over 90% of bathing water sites meeting the most stringent guide values. By contrast, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Belgium have relatively low proportions of sites meeting the strict guidelines, especially as regards inland waters.
For more information on water quality in Ireland, please consult the European Environment Agency's country file online. The Water Information System for Europe provides a detailed indication of the water quality throughout the EU.
Please click here to read the report in full, or see the Commission press release.
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