With long term forecasts on climate change predict devastating temperature rises – short term assessments say 'it's looking like perfect beach weather'
With weather temperatures starting to climb, the European Commission says that 85 percent of Europe's bathing sites have excellent water quality.
The commission said Thursday that the islands of Cyprus and Malta, as well as Greece and Austria, have the highest numbers of clean swimming spots.
The commission says a report it compiled with the European Environmental Agency found that more than 95 percent of the 21,381 swimming places in the 28 EU countries plus Albania and Switzerland meet at least the minimum cleanliness standard. (This is assessed by the level of fecal bacteria found in water.)
A total of 301 bathing areas have poor water quality.
France, Italy and Spain had most poor quality sites, although standards are improving in France from last year.
The report is welcome news in what is shaping up to be another hot summer.
Last year France's health minister Agnes Buzyn announced that the summer heatwaves had claimed the lives of 1500 more people than an average summer. With temperatures close to record levels, many of these were linked to vulnerable citizens particularly in built up areas that suffer from a phenomenon called 'urban heat islands.'
According to English language website TheLocal.fr, the previous year was "the most destructive on record" with 4,000 fires and 25,000 burnt hectares affecting the country in 2017.
According to the ONRC (Observatoire national sur les effets du réchauffement climatique) Historic climate change France has shown a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the past 50 years. The rising mercury has put many countries under pressure to cope with hotter summers, leading to the signing of the Paris Accord in 2016 which pledged to curb future temperature rises.
For the time being, there is little Europeans can do but head to the beaches and keep an eye on the thermometers.