Status: 01.06.2021 1:55 PM

The lakes, rivers and coastal waters of Germany continue to provide excellent water conditions. The EU Environment Agency complained of only a few exceptions – and it mostly gave good grades across Europe.

The quality of bath water in Germany is still very good. According to a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), 89.9 percent of all German lakes, rivers and coastal waters analyzed in 2020 have excellent water quality.

More than 96% met the minimum standards applicable in the European Union. These values ​​are slightly lower than in the previous year’s report. One reason for this is that it is not possible to adequately analyze more jobs than usual and thus to classify them due to the restrictions associated with the epidemic in the 2020 bathing season.

11 blemished shower spots

Only 11 of 2,304 bathing sites in the Federal Republic of Germany were found to be defective due to the discovery of so much harmful bacteria in the water – a year ago there were eight. Among them are five inland waters and six coastal waters this time. As in the previous year, this includes a site on the Elbe River near Brockdorf in Schleswig-Holstein, the North Sea Beach in Wremen and Weser Sandstedt Beach in Lower Saxony, Klostersee Triefenstein in Bavaria and Spreelagune Lübben in Brandenburg.

This time they were also considered flawed Schlei at Winningmay In Schleswig-Holstein, the Baltic Sea at the Barth resort on Glöwitzer Bucht and the Neuendorfer bathing beach on Greifswalder Bodden (both Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), the Obhausen lido in Saxony-Anhalt and the bathing area at Freigericht-Ost lake in Kahl am Main and Garchinger See (both in Bavaria).

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Analysis of more than 22,000 water bodies

The Copenhagen-based European Economic Area analyzed data from the 2020 bathing season on 22,276 bodies of water in European Union member states including Great Britain as well as in Albania and Switzerland for the annual report.

Environmentalists have looked at contamination of water with fecal bacteria, which can lead to human diseases, namely enterococcus and Escherichia coli. Water quality depends on the detected amount of these bacteria, which mainly originate from wastewater and agriculture. If classified as unsatisfactory, the European Economic Area recommends bathing bans, warning notifications, or other measures.

Greece, along with Cyprus, Austria, Malta and Croatia, is one of the cleanest bathing regions in Europe.

Photo: Reuters

Germany is in the upper midfield across Europe

This time, the European Economic Area rated 82.8 percent of these more than 22,000 bathing areas as excellent, and 92.6 percent met minimum EU standards. A year ago it was just below 85 and 95 percent.

Once again, Cyprus, Austria, Greece, Malta and Croatia performed particularly well: more than 95 percent of the bathing areas there are certified as having excellent water quality. With its excellent proportion of bathing regions, Germany lags behind these five countries and is therefore in the upper-middle range in the European comparison. Denmark follows in seventh place. It does not lag behind Italy and Spain, which are especially popular with the Germans.

Improving water quality

According to EEA, European bathing water quality has improved dramatically over the past 40 years thanks to various European Union directives. During this period, EU legislation not only helped improve water quality in general but also helped identify areas in need of improvement, said EEA Executive Director Hans Bruinencks.

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“The quality of bathing water in Europe is still high, and this is good news for Europeans who will head to the beaches and bathing areas this summer,” said EU Environment Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius.


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