Cyprus and Greece have the cleanest seas in EU
By Nicos Βellos
Brussels, Jun 9 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Greece have the cleanest seas in the EU according to the annual bathing water report presented by the European Commission here Friday.
According to the 2005 report, 100 bathing areas were monitored in Cyprus, all with sufficient sampling frequency. The bathing water quality was excellent in the 2005 bathing season in all coastal bathing areas. The results from the monitoring of the water quality in all bathing areas indicate 100 percent compliance both with the mandatory as well as with the more stringent guide values.
This is considered to be a significant improvement, compared with the previous bathing season.
There were no areas where bathing was prohibited.
Greece monitored a total of 2,006 coastal bathing areas during 2005, 41 more than in the previous bathing season.
Average bathing water quality in coastal and freshwater areas remained excellent at 100%, with a slight improvement in the 2005 bathing season compared to the previous season.
All the coastal bathing areas with the exception of one complied with the mandatory values set in the Directive. Compliance with the more stringent guide values further increased from 97.6 to 98.1%.
A European Commission press release said a large majority of bathing sites across the EU-25 continued to meet EU cleanliness standards in 2005, according to the report.
However, the proportion of compliant sites decreased slightly in coastal areas and more significantly at inland bathing sites like lakes and rivers. Coming just before the bathing season begins, the report provides useful water quality information for the millions of people who visit Europe's beaches each summer.
While 96% of coastal bathing sites met the mandatory standards of the EU bathing water directive last year, the proportion of inland waters in compliance continued to fall, decreasing by almost four percentage points to 86%. These falls were mainly due to insufficient sampling of water quality which counts as non compliance.
Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for Environment, said: ''It is very encouraging that the water continues to be clean for bathers at well over 95% of Europe's coastal waters. However, I am concerned at the worsening compliance rate at inland bathing sites and would urge public authorities to step up the required testing and clean-up efforts.?
The report shows complete results for 20,914 bathing areas in the EU-25, 14,230 of them coastal and 6,684 inland.
Four EU-10 Member States reported for the first time this year: Hungary, Latvia, Malta and Poland. However, these Member States had a high number of bathing areas that were insufficiently sampled - 39% of the coastal areas and 43% of the freshwater zones.
This significantly influenced the non-compliance figures for the EU-25 as a whole. The other six EU-10 Member States, reporting for the second time, showed a clear overall improvement in their results.