Cyprus, Luxembourg, Greece and Malta are home to Europe’s cleanest bathing waters, the European Union’s environment commission says.

Surveys of more than 21,000 seaside, river and lake sites across Europe during 2015, including non-EU members Switzerland and Albania, showed that over 84 per cent achieved excellent status, the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency .

In Cyprus, where the tourism industry is a mainstay, 99.1% of the 113 coastal bathing sites scored the highest quality level. That was only topped by Luxembourg that had a 100 per cent record, while both Malta and Greece scored over 97%.

The annual report said that 96 per cent of bathing waters in the 30 countries surveyed met minimum EU water quality standards, slightly up compared to 2014.

The EU environment commissioner, attributed the results to “40 years of investing in water and waste water infrastructure.”

Countries with the highest number of bathing waters failing to meet EU standards were France (95), Italy (95), and Spain (58).
The samples are tested for two types of bacteria, Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci. Escherichia coli – or E coli – can cause diarrhoea and other intestinal illnesses.

Pollution from sewage or waste from livestock or farmland were main sources for poor water quality. Floods or heavy rains can result in more pollution being washed into rivers, lakes and seas, and cause sewage systems to overflow, the report said.

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