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Greek beaches praised in European environment report May 31, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.

The high quality of Greek coastal waters and beaches, as well as the country’s high biodiversity, was praised in a report on the state and prospects of the environment in European Union countries carried out by the European Environment Agency, which was presented in Thessaloniki on Wednesday.

Greece fared badly with respect to its recycling efforts and the development of renewable energy sources, however, ranking last in Europe.

The EEA’s report was presented at the 2nd session of Thessaloniki University’s Environment Council focusing on the environmental problems faced by the city and surrounding region.

According to the report, 99.9 per cent of Greek beaches satisfied national criteria and 97.6 per cent satisfied EU criteria in the summer of 2004.

On the other hand, greenhouse gases have increased steadily in the country over the past decade, while the main sources of these emissions are the production and use of energy, the disposal of wastes and agriculture.

By contrast, renewable energy sources covered only 8 percent of the total use to generate electricity when the European average is 14 per cent.

At the same time, Greece ranks last among EU countries for the rate of recycling, while refuse and urban waste increased by 42.5 per cent between 1995 and 2003 due to economic development, intense urbanisation and increased consumerism.

The country is also slammed for its methods of disposing and handling wastes, which are judged unsuitable and lead to the degradation of surface and underground waters, but has made improvements in the handling of hazardous wastes.

Problems are also pinpointed in the distribution of water, which is seen to be particularly unequal. Agriculture is the largest consumer of water, with demand for irrigation purposes double over the past 20 years.

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