EU countries' nitrate pollution on the up

Groundwater contamination rising despite "real willingness" of states to implement directive

Pollution of the EU's groundwaters by agricultural nitrates is on the rise despite ten years of action under a directive specifically designed to stop it. The conclusion comes in the second "synthesis report" on member states' implementation of the nitrates directive, just published by the European Commission.

Contrasting with the gloomy picture on groundwater, the report finds that surface and coastal water contamination is largely stable or declining. And after blasting EU countries' performance as "abysmal" in its first report (EED 03/10/97), the Commission says they are now showing a "real willingness" to improve implementation.

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