Can Your Local Beach Fly the Blue Flag?
Jul 28 2015 Read 1106 Times
The next time you set off on holiday for a European beach resort, you might want to do a little research beforehand. Thanks to data gathered by the EU, such research involves little more than glancing at an interactive map and making your decision accordingly.
Last summer, the EU collected water samples from bathing sites across Europe and analysed them for water quality levels. The good news is that 95% of all samples tested passed the minimum criteria for safe swimming, while an impressive 83% of sites reported back with excellent levels of water quality.
Which ones fared better than others? Read on to find out.
The League Table
Top of the league for excellent water quality were Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg, all of which received 100% in testing for all of their bathing sites. Greece were not far behind with 96% of their beaches receiving top marks – which for anyone acquainted with the sheer number of beaches in Greece and the surrounding Greek islands, is no mean feat.
Croatia, which also boasts an impressive coastline, was next on the list, with 94% excellent beaches, while Germany also reported remarkable results with 90% excellent beaches. Another European hotspot, Portugal, obtained respectable marks, as well – perhaps largely due to the recent emphasis placed on water supply and effluent treatment systems in the country.
Bottom of the table were Italy, France and Spain, all of which had the highest percentage of unsanitary beaches of any countries in Europe. The UK returned modest results, with a high 98.9% of its beaches meeting the minimum criteria (above the EU average), but only 76.7% receiving an excellent approval rating (below the EU average).
Concerningly, 25 English beaches were at risk of dropping out of the top bracket, thus potentially harming British performance even further when the beaches are tested again this year.
Flying the Blue Flag
In more encouraging news, the number of UK beaches which are able to fly the Blue Flag increased from 56 last year to 60 this year. The Blue Flag is an award given to beaches which display high cleanliness levels and adequate safety procedures, as opposed to water quality. Cornwall and Kent, two of the most popular holiday destinations in the country, boasted seven sites each – the most of anywhere in the UK.
This means that while Cyprus might be top of the pile for excellent water quality, England actually has more Blue Flag beaches than the diminutive island nation. Moreover, it even has more than Mexico, long renowned as a beach Mecca for enthusiasts around the world.
In other Latin American water quality news, there have been fresh concerns around the safety of the beaches outlying Rio de Janeiro. With the Olympic Games due to take place in the Brazilian city next year, an advanced Rio laboratory has warned of Olympic water quality danger. Clearly, such concerns must be addressed before the games get underway.
Image Source: Blue Flag Beach
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