|BRUSSELS - Europe should clean up its beaches and apply tougher water pollution checks by 2011, a European Parliament committee said on Thursday, bringing forward the proposed deadline by four years.|
EU lawmakers in the environment committee also want to promote a new system of smiling face signs, like the "smileys" used in e-mails or text messages, to inform bathers of water cleanliness in the sea, lakes and rivers.
The system is part of an EU drive to raise water quality standards and reduce the risk of swimmers catching stomach bugs or respiratory illnesses from bathing in water polluted with human sewage and animal waste.
EU lawmakers are also urging the 25-nation bloc to devise an emergency plan to clean up after major pollution accidents.
The 732-member assembly will vote on the report next month.
If the EU assembly maintains the 2011 deadline, it will start a row with EU governments who want to keep the original 2015 date for meeting the higher water standards.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE