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STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE percentage of the Balearic coast's water not suitable for bathing has doubled in the last year.
In 2006, 2.1 percent of the coastline was not fit for bathing. In 2007, this figure reached 4.3 percent, according to a report on environmental conditions in the Balearics published by the Department of the Economy, Finance and Innovation.

At some moments last year, 4.4 percent of the Balearic coastline was not fit for swimming, reaching 4.8 percent in some places.
In total, 86.1 percent of the Islands waters were considered excellent last year, compared to 89.3 percent in 2006, while 9.6 percent were considered suitable compared to 8.6 percent the year before.

In relation to the individual islands, 87.8 percent of Majorca's waters were considered excellent last year, 7.8 percent were considered suitable and 4.9 were considered unfit for bathing.

In Ibiza and Formentera, 87.8 percent were considered excellent, 7.8 were considered suitable and 4.3 percent were considered unfit for bathing.
In Minorca, only 77.4 percent of waters were considered excellent, 19.3 considered suitable and 3.23 were considered unfit for bathing.
Minorca, while not having as high a percentage of waters deemed excellent as the other islands, had the greatest stability, with 96.7 percent of waters deemed of good quality.

In Majorca, the quality of the water descended 2.6 points, while in Ibiza and Formentera the quality dropped 2.4 points.
According to the study, the quality of the waters off the coast of the Balearics “directly influences the quality of the islands as a tourist destination, besides having an important impact on public health”. The study said that in general there was a high level of water quality off the islands.

The water quality of the islands is checked weekly during the high season between May 1 and October 15 under an EU directive. The water is analysed for bacterias, as well as salinity, nitrates and phosphates.