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You are here: Home / News / Heading for your favourite beach? Is the bathing water clean?

Heading for your favourite beach? Is the bathing water clean?

The European Environment Agency (EEA) and Microsoft today launched a new environmental information portal ‘Eye on Earth’, displaying the latest information on the water quality in bathing sites across Europe. Through its first application ‘Water Watch’, the new portal allows users to rate beaches and to share their comments with others.

Eye on Earth interactive map

Bathing water information is only a first step in our collaboration with Microsoft. We will gradually expand this two-way communication platform to include other environmental information, such as biodiversity and air quality.

Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA

Every year, millions of Europeans spend their summer vacations by coastal or inland waters. The quality of the bathing water at their destination can be a key factor in deciding where to go. Now with Eye on Earth, holidaymakers will not only be able to check the latest information available on the water quality at their possible destinations, but also read comments posted by others who have already been there.

“Bathing water information is only a first step in our collaboration with Microsoft. We will gradually expand this two-way communication platform to include other environmental information, such as biodiversity and air quality”, said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA.

The bathing water application retrieves information from more than 21,000 monitoring points across Europe. For all these bathing sites, the portal presents information from recent years. For some countries, including Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Portugal and Slovakia, the portal also displays the latest 2008 rating available.

Eye on Earth allows users to zoom in on a given section of the coast or riverbank, both in street map or bird’s eye viewing formats. A ‘traffic-light’ evaluation (red, amber, green) of water quality based on scientific monitoring methods is supported by similar ratings reflecting the experiences of people who have visited the bathing site.

As part of the five-year partnership announced last May, the EEA and Microsoft will continue to develop the Eye on Earth portal by adding new sets of environmental information.

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