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Acheloos protest gathering support October 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment, Nature.
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The campaign against the government’s plans to divert the Acheloos River appear to be gathering pace as a protest in central Athens has been planned for this Friday, the same day that the Council of State will consider another appeal against the project.

Representatives of the Panhellenic Movement Against the Acheloos Diversion met in Thessaloniki yesterday to coordinate action. Its members believe that support for their campaign is growing. «We are still at the beginning in terms of becoming sensitized in comparison to other European countries but more and more people are becoming concerned about water-management issues,» said campaigner Nikos Ioannou.

The government wants to divert Greece’s second-longest river from western Greece to Thessaly in central Greece to provide water for farmers. Authorities and residents in western Greece fear that the diversion will have devastating consequences for them.

Meanwhile, residents from Drama in northern Greece also expressed concern yesterday about the levels of pollution in the River Nestos. They believe that large amounts of rubbish are being dumped in the section of the river that runs through Bulgaria as there is a landfill next to the Nestos near the border with Greece. Campaigners asked for the Greek government to speak to authorities in Bulgaria to resolve the problem.

Lethal threat from the north > Recent information revealing the extent to which Greece’s neighbors are contributing to the pollution of the rivers running through the northern Greek regions of Macedonia and Thrace has cast the spotlight on a crucial issue which, in order to be tackled, must be placed high on the government’s foreign policy agenda. Because as correct as it may be to lock horns with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the name issue, it is equally imperative to protect the country from the lethal waste being dumped by our neighbors’ industries, which spills into the Axios River and is causing irreparable damage to the Thermaikos Gulf.

The Axios, Nestos and Evros rivers are funnels for waste from all over the Balkans. Environmental diplomacy must therefore become a foreign policy issue and common rules of environmental protection drawn up. There is enough pollution and destruction of the environment taking place inside the country. We certainly don’t need the imported variety from FYROM, Bulgaria, Albania and Turkey.

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