Greek seas cleanest in the EU

Greece had the cleanest coastal waters in the European Union in 2004, with only one of a thousand samples checked not being up to scratch, according to data released in Brussels yesterday. The EU annual bathing water quality report for last summer was based on figures provided by member states. It noted that some EU nations remove dirty swimming spots from their check lists, to avoid cleaning them up, or ban bathing in substandard areas without doing anything to improve conditions. The section on Greece found that 99.9 percent of all coastal bathing areas met the mandatory EU cleanliness requirements, and 97.6 percent complied with the more stringent ones. The dirtiest of the 1,965 spots checked was the Greek National Tourism Organization pay beach on Zakynthos. The report rated EU seas, lakes and rivers according to their content of coliform bacteria, mineral oils, phenols and «surface-active substances.» Lithuania and Esthonia had the dirtiest marine bathing areas in the EU.