(18 October 2013) – Water pollution caused by nitrates has decreased in Europe over the past two decades, but agricultural pressures are still putting water resources under strain.
The latest Report on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive reveals that nitrates concentrations are slightly decreasing in both surface and groundwater and sustainable agricultural practices are more widespread.
Although the overall trend is positive, nitrates pollution and eutrophication (the excess growth of weeds and algae that suffocates life in rivers and seas) are still causing problems in many Member States and further action is needed to bring the waters in the European Union to a good status within a reasonable timescale.
The problems with groundwater seem most severe in Germany and Malta, while surface waters seem most polluted in Malta, the United Kingdom and Belgium. Almost four out of ten lakes in Europe suffer from eutrophication with the Netherlands suffering most acutely, with 100 % of freshwaters affected.