Rome

Italian swimming spots along sea, lakes and rivers improving

Best water in northern Veneto, Emilia-Romagna regions

Italian swimming spots along sea, lakes and rivers improving

Rome, June 17 - Italian beaches alongside its seas, rivers, and lakes are all in better shape this year as overall water quality has improved by almost 5%, the health ministry said Monday. Bathing and swimming water has improved in quality by more than 4.7% since last year, the health ministry said in a new report. While 96.6% of swimming waters were found to comply with standards, another 1.3% of water sources were closed to bathers for health concerns. The report is based on data provided by Italy's regional government and covers 5,509 different swimming sites, including 4,880 coastal areas. The rest are river and lakeside beaches and swimming holes that were measured for various kinds of bacterial contamination that could threaten human health. About 85% of water measured was judged to be "excellent," the report added. Best water quality was found in the northern Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regions while the worst was found along the coast of Abruzzo and in lakes in Lazio, both in central Italy. Italy's water report placed the country above average within the European Union, behind Cyprus and Luxembourg, which have 100% safe swimming water. Malta, Croatia, Germany, Greece and Portugal also received high marks.

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