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Water and marine environment

Securing the sustainable use of water remains a key challenge

Clean water is an essential resource for human health, agriculture, energy production, transport and nature. But it is also under multiple pressures. Currently, only 40% of Europe’s surface water bodies achieve good ecological status. In addition, even though EU countries have managed to reduce selected pressures, the status of our marine ecosystems remains critical, both in terms of species and habitats. More efforts are needed to achieve Europe's freshwater and marine-related environmental targets.

State of bathing waters in 2019

This map shows bathing water locations and their quality for the latest as well as previous bathing seasons. All symbols are coloured according to achieved quality status in the most recent season. Data are presented on two levels: country (less detailed scales) and bathing water (more detailed scales).

Data sources:

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.

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.

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.

Published: 21 Sep 2020

This joint EEA and UNEP/MAP report takes stock of the progress achieved and challenges ahead in the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Horizon 2020 initiative for a cleaner Mediterranean (H2020).

Published: 25 Jun 2020

This report provides a set of key messages on the current use of Europe's seas and its combined effects on marine ecosystem condition. These messages underpin a set of lessons from marine ecosystem recovery from which solutions for a brighter future can be identified.

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