Karen Reichelt KAREN REICHELT

Rivers of life threatened by multiple calamities

COMMENT

TAGS: Environment

It starts like all classical tales – mystical and ethereal. The crystal-clear river pool is the site of the Sanctuary of Pamisos, an underwater temple in the Peloponnese. It is a cool and tranquil haven in summer. With reeds waving under the surface like nymphs’ tendrils, it is easy to imagine it as a place of healing in ancient times.

But how quickly the story takes a dramatic turn. How could something so pure be transformed so quickly into something so tragic?

Today, as this gentle river meanders its way to the sea, it is befallen by all kinds of calamities. From its source, a myriad of fresh water springs, it is assaulted at all turns.

It is bombarded with plastic of every conceivable kind; lethal shopping bags, frappe coffee containers and their deadly straws, and a toxic cornucopia of rubbish from building sites along the way.

As the stream slows with its deadly burden it eventually drains into the sea, creating a killing field for marine life.

Greece is not alone in this ecological travesty, but when will it take realistic and easily achievable steps to protect the sea which is its legend and its livelihood?

Mountain rivers and streams are flushing life from Greece, they have nourished this land for millennia and now they are strangled.

With a worldwide threat of drought, a proper water management strategy should finally be enacted in this country.

The information is out there, the list of simple solutions is exhaustive. Why don’t we have more reservoirs to catch the most precious commodity in the world? What procedures have been enacted to stop rubbish flowing into the sea?

The government should be acting on international guidelines and setting the best example.

With all this knowledge at their fingertips it is tragic to see televised meetings of the parliamentary working group on the environment drinking water in plastic cups from plastic bottles.

For a start, all single-use plastic should be removed from Parliament as a symbolic step towards a nationwide ban.

They could add this to the list of everything else that needed to be done yesterday. It’s not too late.

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