Sunday

4th Dec 2016

More bathing bans at Italian beaches than anywhere in Europe

  • Safest way to enjoy an Italian beach (Photo: Stuck in Customs)

The quality of bathing waters at European beaches, both inland and at the seaside, have improved steadily over recent years.

As of last year, a full 96 percent of coastal beaches met EU minimum standards and 90 percent of beaches next to rivers and lakes, according to the latest annual "bathing water report" from the European Commission.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

This is up from an 80 percent compliance rate for seasides in 1990 and 52 percent for inland waters.

"Over the last 30 years, EU and national legislation has significantly improved the quality of Europe's bathing waters but our work does not end here," said environment commissioner Janez Potocnik upon the report's publication on Thursday (10 June).

"Despite our decade-long track record of high quality, we need to keep up the effort constantly to both improve and maintain what we have achieved."

Almost all the seaside beaches in Cyprus, France, Greece and Portugal complied with the EU's tougher "guide values."

However, some two percent of coastal bathing sites had to be banned in 2009 and most of these were in one member state - Italy.

Additionally, just 46.4 percent of Italian inland bathing sites met the EU's minimum quality levels last year, down 19.4 percent from 2008.

The findings prompted the commissioner to suggest he would not go swimming in the country.

"Italy has work to do," he said. "I don't know about the discrepancies, but I'm swimming on the other side."

Freshwater bathing sites showed greater variation in their water quality, according to the commission, but the best lakeside or riverside places to swim are in Finland, France, Germany and Sweden.

Focus

A world without waste

A garbage crisis in Naples, Italy, gave birth to the "zero waste" movement, but is the rest of Europe brave enough to change the way it thinks about trash?

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESIElects Leaders and Sets Safety & Health at Work and Gender Equality Among the Guidelines For Next Term
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  3. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security