According to the latest report, prepared by the European Environment Agency (EEA), in cooperation with the European Commission, in 2022. Water quality at most bathing sites in Europe met the most stringent requirements of the Union. The report prepared is based on the results of monitoring 21,973 bathing sites across Europe. The assessment covers bathing sites in all EU member states, Albania and Switzerland. Detailed information assessing bathing water quality can be found on the European Environment Agency website.

Water quality in coastal areas

According to the prepared report, water quality in coastal areas, which account for 2/3 of all bathing areas, is generally better than that of rivers and lakes. In 2022. 88.9% of the EU’s coastal bathing areas are classified as top quality. The figure for inland waters was 79.3%.

In 2022. 95% of bathing waters in Cyprus, Austria, Greece and Croatia met the requirements for excellent quality water. In Malta, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Luxembourg in 2022. all bathing waters evaluated had at least a minimum standard of sufficient quality. Water quality in coastal bathing areas is generally better compared to inland bathing areas due to more frequent renewal and greater self-purification capacity.

Directive on bathing water quality

The water quality directive was adopted in 2006. Since then, the percentage of excellent bathing areas has increased and in recent years has stabilized at 85% – 89% for coastal bathing areas and 77% – 81% for inland areas. In 2022. It accounted for 85.7% of all bathing sites in the EU. Minimum water quality standards have been met in almost 96% of all facilities in the Union.

The percentage of low-quality bathing waters has declined over the past decade and as of 2015. remains stable. In 2022. amounted to only 1.5% of all bathing sites in the EU. This shows that the health risks associated with swimming in such places are slowly diminishing.

The Bathing Water Quality Directive is one of several pieces of EU legislation. Water quality is also significantly affected by the Water Framework Directive and the directives on environmental quality standards, groundwater, marine strategy and urban wastewater treatment.

Water quality in Polish bathing beaches

For the 2022 season. 708 Polish bathing sites were reported to the EEA, of which 185 were coastal sites and 523 inland sites. According to a report on the EEA website – where country reports are available – in Poland 55.9% of bathing sites met the requirements confirming excellent water quality, 14.8% good quality, 4.7% sufficient, 2.5% poor, and 22% of bathing sites were unqualified. More on this topic in the article:“Bathing – where to look for places permitted for swimming?“.

The EEA has also published an up-to-date interactive map showing water quality results for each bathing site, including those located in Poland, to provide an overview of water quality at individual bathing sites.

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