The regional ministry of health has announced the results of the annual summer campaign of seawater-quality testing that is undertaken in the whole of the Balearics. Excellent quality was found in 86% of samples, almost 10% were deemed good while roughly 2.5% were sufficient and 1.5% of insufficient quality.

The campaign ran last year from 18 May to 11 October - when there are most sea users therefore - and followed, as it does each year, European directives on health protection. There are 194 sampling points in all - 115 in Majorca, 41 in Ibiza, 31 in Minorca and seven in Formentera - and 1,917 water samples were taken.

The three points where quality was at its most deficient were Camp de Mar in Andratx, Cala Egos in Santanyi and Cala Pedrera, Es Castell in Minorca.

When samples show values that exceed those expected for safe and healthy bathing, additional analysis is undertaken in order to confirm a failure to meet standards. Reports are then sent to the relevant town hall and to the ministry for the environment, agriculture and fisheries in order that causes of contamination can be identified and remedial measures adopted.

The public health laboratories pay particular attention to any possible presence of E. coli and intestinal enterococci bacteria. Visual inspections are also carried out to see what evidence there might be of jellyfish, tar, glass, plastic, rubber, wood, floating materials, detergents and organic debris. Water clarity is also examined, while there are also inspections of sand in order to detect the presence of most of the above items and to consider meteorological conditions - the wind, the condition of the sea and rain.