U.S. Water News Online
BRUSSELS — Europeans looking for clean water to swim in don't have to go to Florida, Hawaii or the Caribbean, the European Commission said.
It suggested they stay in the European Union, issuing a survey showing the union's bathing waters are clean and getting cleaner all the time. The survey said that was good news when the recession may have “a big impact on where Europeans decide to holiday this summer.”
It said the water in the vast majority of the European Union's coastal and inland bathing sites met minimum quality levels in 2008.
Last year, 96.3 percent of coastal bathing waters met EU pollution standards, up 1.1 percentage points from the year before, it said. More than 90 percent of inland sites complied with EU norms.
The survey said in 2008, the number of sites monitored rose by 75 to 21,400 bathing areas — two-thirds along coastlines, the rest along rivers and lakes.
The report said big challenges remain: The major pollutants of European bathing sites are farmland runoff and sewage.
The largest numbers of coastal bathing waters are in Italy, Greece, France, Spain and Denmark.
Germany and France have the highest number of inland bathing waters.
Cyprus, Malta and Romania only reported data for coastal areas. Officials said newcomers to the European Union sometimes have trouble meeting EU pollution standards, especially for inland bathing areas, and close some bathing areas to escape monitoring.
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