99% of bathing water sites in Gozo & Malta of “excellent quality” – Report
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According to the latest bathing water quality report released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission, 99% of bathing water sites in Gozo and Malta are assessed as being of “excellent quality,” meaning they were mostly free from pollutants harmful to human health and the environment.
Altogether, 87 bathing waters were reported on the Maltese Islands, of which 17 sites are in Gozo. Out of all bathing waters in Gozo and Malta, none have been newly identified in 2016 season, the report said. All bathing waters in Malta are of coastal type. 2077 samples were taken at bathing waters throughout the season – 24 per bathing water on average.
The report said that more than 85 percent of bathing water sites monitored across Europe in 2016 met the most stringent ‘excellent’ quality standards. Over 96 percent of bathing water sites met minimum quality requirements set out under European Union rules.
The report said that it confirms the positive 40-year trend of increasingly cleaner water at beaches and swimming spots across Europe. Bathing water is sampled and monitored for contamination by faecal pollution from sewage or livestock.
The vast majority of Europe’s swimming spots can in recent years, boast good quality water. The report shows that in 2016, 96.3% of sites met the minimum ‘sufficient’ quality requirements set out in the EU’s Bathing Water Directive.
It noted that this is up slightly from 96.1% in 2015. More than 85% (85.5) of bathing water sites met the directive’s most stringent ‘excellent’ water quality standards, up from 84.4% in 2015.
European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said, ‘the excellent quality of European Bathing Water sites is not by chance. It is the result of hard work by dedicated professionals. It shows the importance of nurturing EU policy that promotes green jobs.”
EEA Executive Director, Hans Bruyninckx, said, ‘it is encouraging to see that more and more bathing water sites across Europe are meeting the highest quality standards. This helps Europeans make better informed choices about the bathing sites they plan to visit this summer.”
He added that, “it also shows the effectiveness of our environmental policies and the practical benefits to human health protection and our daily lives when excellent data collection and analysis are conducted.’
The report covers bathing water locations across the EU, Albania and Switzerland. European bathing waters are much cleaner than forty years ago when large quantities of untreated or partially treated municipal and industrial waste water were discharged into water.
The full report for Malta is available for download here.
Photograph by Alain Salvary