The European Union’s efforts to ensure clean and healthy bathing water began 40 years ago when the first Bathing Water Directive was issued. The annual bathing water report published in May proved the value of the legislation and the years of investment in wastewater infrastructure and other pollution reduction measures. It shows that bathing water quality has improved continuously over time. The report compiled analyses of water sampled at more than 21,000 coastal and inland bathing sites across the EU, Switzerland and Albania, indicating whether or not it has been contaminated by fecal pollution from sewage or livestock. While 96 percent of bathing sites met the minimum requirements, more than 84 percent met the more stringent ‘excellent’ level.