Europe - Water Pollution facts

A drinking water test in France revealed that 3 million people were consuming drinking water whose quality was far below WHO standards. The same study also showed that 97% of groundwater samples collected did not meet the standards for nitrate levels.

Research shows that 80 percent of sewage dumped into the Mediterranean Sea is not treated.

In the past several decades over four hundred wells have been drilled in Italy. Even when these wells are drilled correctly and don’t pollute the groundwater, they still put a lot of strain on the amount of water available in this area, which in turn affects drinking water sources throughout the region.

Almost 50 percent of Europe’s plants and a third of the animal species call Italy their home. Of all of these plants and animals, a huge number are threatened, endangered, or disappearing altogether, largely due to water pollution and a strain on water supplies across the country. 31% of vertebrate animal species in Italy are threatened, while 22% of lower plants and 15% of higher plants are suffering the same fate.

In 2013, the total amount of municipal waste disposed of across Italy (in water) clocked in at 29.6 million tons.This comes in at around 487 kilograms of waste per person. 37% of this waste was disposed of in landfills. However, Italy is making good strides toward recycling and composting, because 39% of this waste was sent to centers focusing on recycling, reclaiming, and composting.

 Natural disasters too are contributors of water pollution in Italy.

A 2015 study by an ecological organization called Ecologists in Action shows that Spain has lost 20% of its freshwater sources in the past twenty years.

Spain has almost thirty dams per every million residents of the country – highest in the world. Despite this, the demand for water in most areas of Spain increases every year by about 13% on average. This puts a significant strain on the existing freshwater sources, even when they’re dammed and regulated for residential use.

 The agricultural industry consumes more than 80% of the water used in Spain. It also contributes the most to water pollution. This leads to a vicious cycle of water use and contamination present in this sector.

33% of the freshwater rivers in Spain can be rated as contaminated and polluted.

At least 45% of Spanish water pumped every year is done so illegally, using wells that are not operating under water regulations.

85% of water used annually throughout Greece goes to old-fashioned agricultural practices that have yet to be modernized or updated, and irrigation is one of the biggest culprits.

In Germany, a 2011 study showed that freshwater sources throughout the country were polluted with 331 different types of organic pollutants, including bacteria, sediment, and poisonous natural substances like lead and arsenic.

A 2014 study in France determined that 1.5 million people are serviced by tap water that can be considered polluted.

 Algal blooms along the beaches of Brittany are among the leading causes of water pollution in France.

 Scottish Water one of the biggest offenders in terms of water pollution in Scotland in 2015.

Pollution from toxic runoff and groundwater contamination in Scotland currently affects 25% of rivers in the country and 17% of lochs.

“When you put the whole picture together, recycling is the right thing to do.”
Pam Shoemaker, Author
Pam Shoemaker, Author

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