Quality of bathing waters, 2017

Published: Thursday, 29 November 2018 Print Email

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Quality of bathing waters 2017


The Seventh Environment Action Programme (7th EAP) includes an objective that, by 2020, citizens throughout the EU will benefit from high standards of bathing water. The Bathing Water Directive requires that Member States take realistic and proportionate measures to increase the number of bathing waters classified as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

Minimum water quality standards were met by 96.0 % of all EU bathing waters identified for the 2017 bathing season. Overall, bathing water quality is improving over time due to investment in the sewerage system, better waste water treatment and the reduction of pollution from farms.

Bathing water quality is a cause for concern for public health, as swimming at beaches or bathing lakes contaminated with faecal bacteria can result in illness. The major sources of pollution responsible for faecal bacteria are sewage and water draining from farms and farmland. Such pollution increases during heavy rain and floods, when pollution is washed into rivers and seas, and as a result of overflowing sewerage networks. In addition to good water quality for bathing, clean unpolluted water is required for ecosystems and to support economic activities such as tourism.


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