Cyprus swimming waters are the best in Europe after receiving a 100% quality rating by the EU’s environment watchdog.
According to the European Environment Agency’s rankings for the 2020 swim season, Cyprus received a perfect score of 100% for excellent water quality at 112 swimming spots around the island, tested between May 1 and October 31 last year.
Cyprus beat out Austria (97.7%), Greece (97.1%) and Malta (96.6%), which came in second, third and fourth.
It is a timely boost for an island trying to woo holidaymakers back after a dismal 2020 summer that saw tourist arrivals plunge more than 84% from the previous, record-setting year.
Agriculture and Environment Minister Costas Kadis welcomed that Cyprus continues to hold first for Bathing Water Quality.
“The excellent results are very important not only for the health of bathers and the environment but also the economy of Cyprus, which is linked to the quality of our sea and tourist activity,” said Kadis.
The annual report showed that in 2020 almost 83% of Europe’s bathing water sites were of an excellent standard.
Two-thirds of bathing sites are located along Europe’s coasts.
The results give a good indication as to where swimmers can find the best quality bathing waters.
The European Commission said 296 or 1.3% of bathing water sites in Europe were of poor quality.
While the share of poor quality sites has dropped slightly since 2013, problems persist, especially in assessing the sources of pollution and putting in place integrated water management measures.
The share of ‘excellent` coastal and inland swimming sites has stabilised in recent years at around 85%, and in 2020 it was 82.8% across Europe.
The minimum ‘sufficient water quality standards were met at 93% of the sites monitored in 2020.
In five countries – Cyprus, Austria, Greece, Malta and Croatia – 95 % or more bathing waters were of excellent quality.
Cyprus has 112 beaches that are considered excellent.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, said: “Bathing water quality in Europe remains high, and it’s good news for Europeans, who will be heading to beaches and bathing sites this summer.
“This is the result of more than 40 years of Bathing Water Directive, hard work by dedicated professionals and cooperation. The Zero Pollution Action Plan adopted in May will help to keep the waters healthy and safe and our seas and rivers clean.”