90 percent of Flemish bathing areas are "of excellent quality"
The quality of swimming water in almost 90 percent of official coastal and inland swimming areas in Flanders is deemed “excellent”. Across Europe, almost 85 percent of all bathing areas meet the strictest quality standard, according to an annual report by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
In 2021, Flanders had 91 official bathing waters: 41 coastal and 50 inland. The Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) regularly measures the quality of water in these zones, in cooperation with the Agency for Care and Health. In 92,7 percent of the coastal zones and 86 percent of the inland bathing areas, the swimming water turned out to be “of excellent quality”.
“Another hot summer is being predicted. Accessible and clean bathing water offers the ideal natural refreshment on hot days”, responds Flemish minister for the Environment Zuhal Demir (N-VA, Flemish nationalist party). “We spare no effort to continue to improve the quality of bathing waters in Flanders and the number of swimming zones is on the rise.”
“Another hot summer is being predicted. Accessible and clean bathing water offers the ideal natural refreshment on hot days”
In Wallonia, the French-speaking south of the country, only half of the 31 official swimming zones received the “excellent” label. Consequently, at the Belgian level, a total of 78 percent of swimming zones are rated excellent – well below the European average.
On a European level, too, coastal bathing areas tend to score better than inland swimming waters. Last year, 88 percent of coastal areas met the highest standard, compared to 78 percent inland. Especially tourists who travel to Austria, Malta, Croatia, Cyprus or Greece this summer can be confident that the water is of excellent quality. In these countries, more than 93 percent of swimming zones reach the highest standard.
Over 95 percent of all European zones met the minimum standard. A mere 1,5 percent are of "poor" quality, a figure which has been falling for years.
© BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK