Albania’s Beaches Dirtiest in Europe, Report Says

28 May 2014

A report by the European Environmental Agency, EEA, ranks Albania’s bathing sites as having the poorest quality in Europe among 29 countries monitored in 2013.

Besar Likmeta BIRN Tirana

The report assesses bathing water quality in all EU member states, plus Albania and Switzerland, indicating where the best quality bathing is likely to be found this year.

Albania’s 360-kilometre coast has seen a good deal of wildcat and anarchic development in the last two decades, which has turned once pristine areas into maritime ghettos, where concrete condos, restaurants and hotels vie for space.

Of the 77 bathing sites reported to the EEA in 2013, 37 had an excellent quality of compliance with EEA standards, 37 were deemed of sufficient quality and six were rated as non-compliant and of poor quality.

To turn the tide in safeguarding the coastline, the center-left government of Prime Minister Edi Rama last October created the National Coastal Agency.

Aware of the problems, the agency has launched a clean-up campaign this year ahead of the tourist season engaging government and civil society.

“We have launched a national clean-up campaign across the coast with the help of the armed forces, while the government has created a permanent task-force to monitor problems associated with coastal areas, with an eye on infrastructure and water quality,” the head of agency, Auron Tare told Balkan Insight.

Tare said the government has also planned a number of serious investments this year in the sewer systems in the coastal areas.

Across Europe, more than 94 per cent of bathing waters met the minimum water quality standards set by the EU directives, and only 2 per cent of bathing waters were found to have poor bathing water quality.

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