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Tough Times Keeping The Beaches Clean

  • June 1st, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

sunrise.jpgBeaches in Europe have mostly passed their annual water quality check before the Summer holidays — though the European Commission has complained about governments holding back on information.

A report on sampling in 2006 at 21 000 “bathing sites” — at both seaside beaches and inland streams or lakes — found the level of compliance with quality standards was stable at 96.1%.

Series of tests are made at each location to detect pollutants like faecal coliforms or detergent foam.

The survey found improvements countries that joined the EU in 2004, mostly former communist states in Eastern Europe, which had been lagging behind the general environmental standard.

The European Commission as the reporting body commented that compliance was slightly down when water was tested against newly introduced, stricter standards.

The EC’s Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, also objected that a number of countries had stopped testing and prohibited swimming at several places.

“For years member states have been withdrawing bathing areas from the list of bathing sites without justification …(and) must stop removing sites from the official lists without formally stating the reasons”, he said.

“I call on all member states to refrain from resorting to such tactics.

“Instead of removing polluted sites from the list, they should implement policies to develop and regenerate these bathing sites.”

Reference: European Commission, Quality of Bathing water: 2006 bathing season, Summary report, Brussels, May 2007