The annual bathing water report presented by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency shows that 96% of coastal bathing areas and 90% of bathing sites in rivers and lakes complied with minimum standards in 2009. Environment Commissioner Janez Poto?nik said, "Over the last 30 years, EU and national legislation has significantly improved the quality of Europe's bathing waters but our work does not end here. Despite our decade-long track record of high quality, we need to keep up the effort constantly to both improve and maintain what we have achieved." Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, added, "Further improvement to Europe's bathing water quality requires citizen involvement. This means, first and foremost, finding out and understanding the current state of our environment and then demanding cleaner water from relevant authorities. Our web-based tools provide citizens easy access to environmental information as well as a platform to voice their observations." Of the 20 000 bathing areas monitored throughout the European Union in 2009, two thirds were on the coast and the rest were at rivers and lakes. Compliance with mandatory values (minimum quality requirements) at coastal sites increased from 80% in 1990 to 96% in 2009. For inland waters, the increase was even greater, rising from 52% to 90%. Between 2008 and 2009 there was a slight deterioration in the number of bathing waters meeting minimum standards, with reductions of less than one percentage point (pp) for coastal sites and three pps for inland bathing waters. Compliance with the more stringent 'guide values' between 2008 and 2009 increased by slightly less than one pp for coastal sites to reach 89% but decreased by less than three pps for inland waters to 71%. Such annual fluctuations are not unusual by the standards of recent years. Almost all the coastal bathing sites in Cyprus, France, Greece and Portugal complied with the more stringent guide values. Only 2% of EU coastal bathing sites were banned in 2009, mostly in Italy. Although inland bathing sites show greater variation in water quality, a large majority of the inland sites in Finland, France, Germany and Sweden also complied with guide values.


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