EU hails quality of swimming water as the mercury rises

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BRUSSELS (AP) — With weather temperatures starting to climb, the European Commission says that 85 percent of Europe's bathing sites have excellent water quality.

The commission said Thursday that the islands of Cyprus and Malta, as well as Greece and Austria, have the highest numbers of clean swimming spots.

The commission says a report it compiled with the European Environmental Agency found that more than 95 percent of the 21,381 swimming places in the 28 EU countries plus Albania and Switzerland meet at least the minimum cleanliness standard.

A total of 301 bathing areas have poor water quality.

France, Italy and Spain had most poor quality sites, although standards are improving in France from last year.

Sites are graded on the levels of fecal bacteria in the water.

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