Monday, June 20, 2011

Swimming in Europe: every beach, lake and bathing spot ranked and mapped

The European Union has ranked every bathing spot in Europe.
Click on a dot to see more detail about that beach, lake or bathing spot.
The red stars are spots that are either closed or did not comply to the regulations
(Europe's bathing water : Google Fusion Table)

From TheGuardian

Do you like swimming outside?
But how clean is your beach?

Since 1990, the European Union has been monitoring over 21,000 beaches, lakes and rivers across Europe - anywhere where swimmers go al fresco, in fact.
So that huge dataset covers Brighton Beach, the Hamsptead swimming ponds and the classic Mediterranean beaches of the South of France, Spain and Greece.

So, what does the
data, out Thursday 16th from the European Environment Agency, show for your favorite beach?
The overall figures are good - 96.8% of our swimming areas meet the legal standards, if not the full guidelines.
This is down slightly on last year - but more swimming areas are now being surveyed.

The rankings only include outside swimming places - not man-made lidos or pools.

What is happening across Europe? According to the report:

In 2010, 92.1% of Europe's coastal bathing waters and 90.2% of inland bathing waters met the minimum quality standards. Only 1.2% of coastal bathing water and 2.8% of inland sites were non-compliant. The remainder are unclassified due to insufficient data.

In general, coastal bathing water quality deteriorated between 2009 and 2010 – the number of bathing water bodies meeting the mandatory values fell by 3.5%, while those meeting guide values fell by 9.5%.

Inland water quality has also dropped.
The number of rivers and lakes achieving the guide values fell by 10.2%, although compliance with the mandatory values was almost stationary.
Rivers were particularly problematic, with only 25% of river bathing waters achieving guide values.

If you want to, you can find out what variables from the Directive they use to rank each beach

The EEA use six, slightly confusing, categories.
In plain language they mean:
  • CG - The best beaches, complying with the law and the guidelines
  • CI - complies with the mandatory requirements - but not the guidelines
  • B - banned or closed (temporarily or throughout the season)
  • NF - insufficiently sampled
  • NC - Does not comply with the legal requirements
  • NS - not sampled
Eventually we will try to map all of Europe's 21,000 beaches - and you can download every country's data here.

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