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News 60% European water bodies highly polluted: study

A majority of Europe’s rivers, lakes and estuaries are highly polluted with chemicals and other pollutants, a pan-European study has found.

The study, titled "European waters—assessment of status and pressures 2018", has been prepared by the European Environmental Agency (EEA), a European Union (EU) body. It is the second such EEA report since 2012. It evaluated 130,000 waterways in Europe between 2010 and 2015, using data collected from over 160 river basin management plans.

It found that only 40 per cent of lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal waters studied met ecological standards. Only 38 per cent of the water bodies met chemical pollution standards. Groundwater bodies, such as aquifers, fared much better with 74 per cent being rated as having good chemical pollution status and 89 per cent having good ecological status.

The report found that groundwater sites were mostly getting polluted due to nitrates from agricultural run-off, salt intrusion and hazardous chemical pollution from industrial sites, mining areas or waste storage. Mercury was one of the most common pollutants, with common sources including mining, coal combustion and other industrial activities.

On the other hand, surface water got polluted due to nutrient enrichment from agricultural activities, poor wastewater treatment and habitat degradation.

Central European countries, such as Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary, were some of the worst performing in the region, with more than 90 per cent of water bodies failing to meet standards. On the other hand, Scandinavian nations like Sweden and Finland were among the top performers.

In Britain, England saw similar results to countries in central Europe, with a large proportion of water bodies failing to reach the “good” status, while neighbouring Scotland was more similar to Scandinavia.

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News type Inbrief
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Source of information downtoearth
Geographical coverage Denmark,
News date 09/07/2018
Working language(s) ENGLISH