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Making Europe’s sewage treatment plants more efficient and circular can help meet zero-pollution targets

Sewage treatment can play a key role in Europe’s shift to a zero-pollution future by becoming more resource efficient and contributing to the circular economy, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today.

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Zero Pollution: Large number of Europe’s bathing waters meet highest quality standards

The annual Bathing Water report, published today, shows that in 2021 almost 85% of Europe's bathing water sites met the European Union's most stringent ‘excellent' water quality standards. The assessment gives a good indication of where swimmers can find the best quality bathing sites across Europe this summer. The assessment, put together by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in cooperation with the European Commission, is based on the monitoring of 21 859 bathing sites across Europe. These cover the EU Member States, Albania and Switzerland throughout 2021.

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World Water Day: attention on Europe’s groundwater

Most of Europe’s drinking water and a significant proportion of water used in irrigation come from groundwater. A European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today on World Water Day, provides a European overview of this key resource that is under increasing pressure from pollution, abstraction and climate change.

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New indicator on pesticides in European waters

Pesticides can end up in rivers, lakes and groundwaters, with potential to harm aquatic ecosystems and water quality. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) new indicator, which aims to track Europe’s progress in reducing pesticides in waters, shows that excessive levels of pesticides have been recorded in a considerable share of European freshwaters.

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Waste water treatment improves in Europe but large differences remain

Collection and treatment of waste water are key to reducing pressures and risks to human health and the environment, especially to rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published data today, on World Toilet Day, which show that the share of urban waste waters that are collected and treated in line with EU standards is increasing across Europe.

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Water stress is a major and growing concern in Europe

About 30 % of Europe’s population is affected by water stress during an average year. The situation is expected to worsen as climate change is increasing the frequency, magnitude, and impact of droughts. A European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment, published today, presents the current state of water stress in Europe with the aim to put focus on managing water availability risks under the impacts of changing climate.

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Pollution and barriers are key problems for Europe’s waters

European water bodies suffer from agricultural pollution as well as pollution from insufficiently treated waste water from cities, industry and scattered dwellings, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report, published today. Artificial barriers, together with navigation, abstraction, aquaculture, and invasive alien species cause additional pressures. However, solutions to tackle the problems exist and should be more widely adopted.

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EU maritime transport: first environmental impact report acknowledges good progress towards sustainability and confirms that more effort is needed to prepare for rising demand

Maritime transport plays and will continue to play an essential role in global and European trade and economy. In recent years, the maritime sector has taken significant measures to alleviate its environmental impacts. Ahead of a projected increase in global shipping volumes, a new report reveals for the first time the full extent of the impact of the EU maritime transport sector on the environment and identifies challenges to achieving sustainability.

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Zero Pollution: Vast majority of Europe’s bathing waters meet the highest quality standards

The annual Bathing Water report published today shows that in 2020, almost 83 % of Europe’s bathing water sites met the European Union’s most stringent ‘excellent’ water quality standards. The latest assessment (European bathing water quality in 2020), put together by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in cooperation with the European Commission, is based on the 2020 monitoring of 22 276 bathing sites across Europe. These cover the EU Member States, Albania and Switzerland throughout 2020.

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Europe's clean bathing waters – success in environmental policy and management

The share of bathing sites with excellent water quality in Europe has increased from 53 % in 1991 to 85 % in 2019, thanks to local actions guided by binding European legislation. A new European Environment Agency (EEA) report shows how improving bathing water quality can serve as a model for successful environmental legislation and management.

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Agricultural policy needs to secure stronger environmental improvements for water in Europe

Reducing pressures from agriculture is key to improving the status of Europe’s rivers, lakes, transitional, coastal waters and seas as well as groundwater bodies. A European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment, published today, shows that wider uptake of sustainable agricultural management practices is needed for improving the state of water, as well as biodiversity.

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Many obsolete barriers harm Europe's rivers

River continuity is key to improving the ecological status of Europe’s water bodies. However, very few free-flowing rivers remain and the barriers in them cause significant pressures for about 20 % of Europe’s surface water bodies. A European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today, looks at the issue of river barriers and their impact on ecosystems.

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Human activities put pressure on every part of Europe’s seas

Many different human activities on land and at sea cause pressures on Europe’s seas. A European Environment Agency’s (EEA) briefing, published today, shows that these pressures have now reached the outermost sea areas and the deepest seafloor. Human activities affect negatively 93 % of Europe’s sea area.

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EU's Eastern partnership countries face problems with water scarcity and pollution

Freshwater resources are unevenly distributed throughout the European Union’s (EU) six Eastern Partnership countries — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine — according to a European Environment Agency’s report, published today. The EEA report presents an assessment of freshwater availability and water-use efficiency in the region.

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Stronger joint efforts needed to achieve cleaner Mediterranean

Achieving a cleaner Mediterranean Sea requires better implementation of policies and enhanced environmental data and information, according to a joint report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and United Nations Environment Programme’s Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP), published today. Cumulative effects of waste and marine litter, and wastewater and industrial emissions remain key challenges for the region.

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Europe’s seas face uncertain future if urgent, coherent action not taken

Faced with the increased threats posed by overexploitation of marine resources, pollution and climate change, urgent action is needed to bring Europe’s seas back to good condition. According to the European Environment Agency’s report on Europe’s marine ecosystems, published today, we are running out of time to reverse decades of neglect and misuse.

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Quality of Europe’s bathing waters remains high, latest annual assessment finds

The quality of Europe’s bathing water remains high, according to this year’s European bathing water quality assessment published today. Just under 85 % of swimming sites across Europe monitored in 2019 met the European Union’s highest and most stringent ‘excellent’ quality standards.

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Healthy floodplains have a key role to play in improving our environment

The preservation and restoration of Europe’s largely degraded floodplains, must be better prioritised according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today. The report says floodplains have a key role to play in improving biodiversity, water, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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PFAS pollution is widespread in Europe but risks are still poorly understood

People and the environment are exposed to a wide variety of extremely persistent chemicals known as PFAS, many of which are known to be toxic. A briefing by the European Environment Agency, published today, presents an overview of these chemicals, which continue to accumulate in people and the environment.

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New challenges facing Europe’s waste water treatment plants present opportunities for improving sustainability

More investment is needed to make urban waste water treatment plants fit to meet the difficult challenges posed by the impacts of climate change, as well as the presence of antibiotics and other micro-pollutants in waste water, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing published today.

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