UK surface waters among the worse
The UK is still home to some of the most polluted surface waters in Europe, according to the latest report on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive. Several member states and regions still have a high percentage of nitrate-polluted and eutrophic waters.
The problems with groundwater seem most severe in Germany and Malta, while surface waters seem most polluted in Malta, the UK and Belgium. Almost four out of ten lakes in Europe suffer from eutrophication, with the Netherlands suffering most acutely, with 100% of freshwaters affected.
Water pollution caused by nitrates has decreased in Europe over the past two decades, but agricultural pressures are still putting water resources under strain. According to the report, which covers the period 2008-2011, nitrates concentrations are slightly decreasing in both surface and groundwater. It also reveals that sustainable agricultural practices are more widespread.
Although the overall trend is positive, nitrates pollution and eutrophication are still causing problems in many member states.
The Nitrates Directive forms an integral part of the Water Framework Directive and is one of the key instruments in the protection of waters against agricultural pressures. The European Commission said further action is needed to bring the waters in the EU to a good status within a reasonable timescale.
Environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "I am very pleased to see that longstanding efforts to reduce pollution from nitrates in water are paying off. But we still have a huge task ahead to bring Europe's waters to good status by 2015.
“Nitrates put severe pressure on biodiversity, and on the waters and land underpinning our agriculture and economic activities. We need to step up efforts to achieve further significant reductions in nutrient releases.
“This requires managing the nutrient cycle in a more sustainable and resource-efficient way. In particular, we need to improve efficiency in the use of fertilisers. The longer we wait, the more it will cost, to the economy and the environment."
Click here for the report.
- Balfour Beatty takes further action in UK construction business Further overhead reductions and additional supply chain savings are among the actions being taken in Balfour Beatty's UK... Read More >
- Suspended prison sentence for farmer convicted of water pollution offences A farmer in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, has been given a two-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, by Coleraine... Read More >
- SEPA to trial fresh approach to irrigation abstraction management The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) will explore a fresh approach to irrigation abstraction management in... Read More >
- Rewarding excellence WWT content director Alec Peachey looks ahead to next year's Water Industry Awards. Read More >
- Refining water quality management As part of our Utility of the Future campaign, Nadine Buddoo looks at why maintaining water quality is a fundamental... Read More >
- Shifting the dial on drinking water challenges Ahead of WWT Drinking Water Quality Conference, Anglian Water's director of water services, Paul Valleley, provides the... Read More >
- Over-pressurisation: A serious risk for lime storage silos Hycontrol managing director Nigel Allen warns that many lime storage silos are disasters waiting to happen, and steps need... Read More >
- Why valve checks are an essential part of summer maintenance Fraser Higgins, Durapipe UK industrial product manager, explains why valves should not be overlooked as part of the summer... Read More >