The vast majority of some 22,000 swimming beaches in the EU are clean and safe, the European Environment Agency said Tuesday.
The EEA annual report for 2012 showed the water met the minimum standards required for bathing at 94 percent of all swimming beaches in the European Union.
At 78 percent of the beaches, the quality of the water was found to be excellent, the top rating, with Cyprus leading the way as all of its 112 swimming beaches got the best review.
Cyprus, a popular holiday destination, was followed by Malta, Croatia, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Finland and Spain, the report said.
"The overall message of this report is that in 2012 bathing waters in Europe remained at the high level of quality reached in previous seasons," the report said.
On the downside, it noted that some 13 percent of Belgian swimming waters failed to come up to scratch, followed by 6.5 percent in the Netherlands and 6.0 percent in Britain.
In the early 1990s, about 60 percent of EU beaches got the top rating but there has been steady improvement since then in both awareness and remedial measures, especially in terms of sewage treatment.
The full report can be consulted at: www.eea.europa.eu/fr/publicati… s-eaux-de-baignade-4
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