Warnings over park at Schinias

Nearly six months after the end of the Athens Olympics, one of the most controversial Games-related projects is in danger of proving an environmental disaster, officials warned yesterday. The head of the state body set up to manage a newly decreed national park at Schinias, near Marathon, where the Olympic rowing venue was built despite strong objections by environmentalists and archaeologists, told a press conference that the government has abandoned the area to its fate. Kimon Hadzibiros said he had sent a notice of intention to sue to the ministries of the Environment, Agriculture, Public Order and Culture – as well as to the Attica regional authority – in a bid to draw attention to the park’s plight. He said the two rowing courses are not being properly maintained, causing the water to stagnate, while promised work to build channels through the swampy area have yet to materialize. This has led to swarms of mosquitos breeding in the area – despite the 300,000 euros spent in the summer to kill the insects. Furthermore, Hadzibiros said, there are no controls on illegal activities in the area, such as dumping rubbish and rubble, poaching, and illicit building work.

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