Impact of oil spill still present on Athens beaches

Impact of oil spill still present on Athens beaches

The pollution caused by the sinking last month of the Agia Zoni II tanker off the coast of Salamina in the Saronic Gulf near Piraeus has still not abated in certain areas, according to the Hellenic Center for Maritime Research (ELKETHE). 

Even though beaches at Peiraiki and Palio Faliro in southern Athens will be cleaned up and depolluted by next week, tests undertaken by the center have revealed that parts of Salamina, as well as beaches in Aghios Cosmas and Glyfada in southern Athens, are still suffering the consequences of the oil spill.

The tests were conducted on water samples collected on September 18, 22 and 29 and October 3 from coastal areas that were affected by the spill, as well as from the open sea from the strait between Salamina and Elefsina on the mainland all the way to Anavysos in southeastern Attica.

According to Yiannis Hatzianestis, research director at ELKETHE, initial measurements after the spill revealed that all affected areas were severely polluted – in Salamina and southern coastal areas of Faliro, Alimos and Aghios Cosmas levels of petroleum hydrocarbons were 750 times more than the normal limit of 0.5-2 micrograms per liter.

Within 15 to 20 days after the spill, petroleum hydrocarbon levels began to drop as cleanup work by de-pollution vessels began to yield results.

However, certain areas on the southern coast of Athens and Salamina still have high levels, albeit substantially lower, compared to a month ago.

According to samples taken on October 3, petroleum hydrocarbon levels at Aghios Cosmas were at 160 micrograms per liter. On the second beach of the Glyfada marina, levels were at 331 micrograms per liter, while the first beach of the marina had 86 micrograms per liter.

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