* Cyprus best bathing site in EU for 2013
* Inland bathing water lower quality than coastal water
* Extreme flooding washed pollution into central Europe
By Anna Nicolaou
May 26 Cyprus had been ranked highest in the
European Union for the water quality of its beaches for the
second year in a row, the European Environment Agency said,
while extreme flooding washed more pollution into Central
European lakes and streams.
Overall the water quality of beaches, lakes, and rivers
improved across the continent last year, the agency said in its
annual report published on Tuesday.
Some 95 percent of swimming sites in the EU met minimum
water quality standards in 2013, up slightly from 94 percent in
2012, according to the agency, which provides scientific data to
Inland waters suffered because extreme flooding had
funnelled sewage into lakes and streams, the report said. About
90 percent of inland sites met minimum quality standards, down
slightly from 91 percent in 2012.
But around 97 percent of coastal waters met quality
standards, almost steady with the previous year. Southern
Mediterranean countries, who rely heavily on pristine seas to
attract tourism revenues, had the highest rankings.
All of Cyprus's bathing sites were deemed 'excellent',
followed by Malta (99 percent), Croatia (95 percent), and Greece
Meanwhile other nations continue to lag.
In Estonia, some 6 percent of bathing sites were of 'poor'
quality, the lowest classification out of four, failing to meet
The Netherlands and Belgium followed closely behind, with 4
percent and 5 percent respectively.
Germany was harder hit than Belgium by last year's flooding,
the report said, but still managed to ensure 92 percent of its
2,000 inland water sites met quality standards.
(Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)