The European Environment Agency's latest bathing water quality report finds that Europe's water has become cleaner.
Although Estonia was the worst performing country in terms of percentage of highest rate of bathing waters with poor quality - 3 bathing waters or 5.6 percent, in most of the bathing spots water quality was either excellent or good. Of the 53 public coastal and inland beaches that were regularly tested, 34 were classified as "excellent", 11 as "good", 3 as "sufficient" and 3 as "poor". Two new beaches - Liivlauka beach in Hiiumaa island, and Roosta beach in western Estonia, did not receive a rating.
Classified as "poor" were Vana-Pärnu beach in Pärnu, Anne channel in Tartu and Kunda beach in Lääne-Viru county. While the first two had too high concentration of E.coli, the latter exceeded the 90-percentile limit of intestinal enterococci.
The Estonian Health Board took a total of 484 water samples in 2014; 326 of them from public beaches. Among the latter, 13, or 4 percent, did not meet the EU quality criteria.
The results of the report do not reflect the current quality of the water, as all used data is from 2014, but they do indicate where the quality of bathing water is expected to be good in 2015.
According to the report, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, and Malta enjoy the cleanest waters. The highest number of poor sites were found in France, Spain and Italy.
In total, while more than 95 percent of the 21,000 monitored bathing sites the EU, Switzerland and Albania met the minimum requirements, 83 percent met the more stringent "excellent" level. Only 409 bathing sites, corresponding to less than 2 percent of the total number, were assessed as having poor bathing water quality.
Alongside the report, the EEA has published an interactive map showing the performance of each bathing site.
Editor: M. Oll