The EU environment agency, or EEA, released a report on Monday according to which Greece is among the top five European nations in terms of the cleanliness of its bathing waters, while Cyprus tops the list.
A country-by-country breakdown showed that in five nations — Cyprus, Austria, Malta, Greece, and Croatia — at least 95 percent of bathing waters were of excellent quality. The study covered the 27-nation bloc, the U.K., Albania and Switzerland.
Bathing waters are quality classified according to two microbiological parameters (Escherichia coli and Intestinal enterococci).
In Greece, a total of 97.6 percent of reported bathing waters are in line with the minimum quality standards and are thus classified as “sufficient” or better. 95.7 percent are classified as “excellent.” No bathing water is classified “poor”.
In Cyprus, a total of 99.1 percent of reported bathing waters are classified as “excellent.”
Overall, according to the report, the quality of bathing waters in Europe remains high as minimum water quality standards were met at 95 percent of the sites monitored across the continent last year.
“Clean bathing water is usually taken as something that is gifted, but it’s actually one of the European collective achievements,” said Virginijus Sinkevičius, the EU commissioner in charge of the environment.
“It’s the result of hard work by many people over many years. This year’s report once again confirms that European citizens can continue to enjoy very high quality standards when bathing in European waters and all measures must be taken to continue along this path.”
In May, Greece was announced as the number two country worldwide for the number of its Blue Flag beaches, according to the environmental group The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature.
Almost 500 of the country’s beaches were awarded the prestigious Blue Flag status for this year. The top area in Greece, for this year once again, is Halkidiki, with 94 flags awarded for the high environmental and accessibility standards at its beaches.
The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary eco-labels awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. In order to qualify for the blue flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.