The health and environment assessment study published on 8 September by the EEA shows that in 2019 Portugal was ranked seventh for the percentage of bathing areas with excellent bathing water quality (91.5 percent), in a table led by Cyprus (99.1 percent) and with Poland in last place (21.6 percent).

According to the EEA report, there are 22,295 sites monitored for bathing water quality in the EU, with 95 percent of all sites last year meeting the minimum quality requirements set out in the EU Bathing Water Directive, with 84.6 percent achieving ‘excellent’ status.

Overall, coastal bathing waters are of better quality than inland sites, rising from 79.1 percent in 2018 to 87.4 percent in 2019.

The EEA also warns that air pollution remains the main environmental threat to health in Europe, with over 400,000 premature deaths from air pollution every year in the EU.

Noise pollution comes second, contributing to 12,000 premature deaths, followed by the impacts of climate change, including heat waves.