NEWS

Industry contaminating drinking wells?

Chemical analysis cannot indicate the specific sources of the toxic form of chromium VI, but it certainly originates in human activities since the rock strata in the region do not contain the element naturally. Secondly, all signs point to industrial waste, such as from the metal-processing factories that abound in the area, and which would also account for the large concentrations of Cr(VI). The traces found at great depths show the toxic waste is probably channeled directly down to the water table via wells. That is, some of the industries are using wells to dispose of toxic liquids, the same wells used for drinking water by humans and animals and to irrigate crops. Eastern Attica prefectural councilor Christiana Frangou is appealing to the Special Environmental Inspectors Service and asked for a «complete and wide-ranging investigation taking into consideration the fact that the results indicate human-generated pollution that is not due to those who cultivate fields in the area, but to industry.» Methenitis called for a continuation of the investigation in order to pinpoint specific sources of pollution, claiming that inspectors should visit the businesses to ensure that the law is being observed. Authorities at the service said that due to the gravity of the accusation and the high level of pollution recorded, an order has been issued for a priority investigation. The entire chronium issue has raised the wider problem of pollution and degradation of the soil in Eastern Attica, an area once considered a «promised land» for farming and which is still heavily farmed for food supplies for the city. The huge increase in non-agricultural activities in recent years has been very largely uncontrolled, which has led to a deterioration of the soil both ecologically and economically. Now that yet more industries are moving to the area, it is more pressing than ever to require strict adherence to environmental regulations. The Koropi industrial zone is of particular importance. Although it is home to many industries with many more expected to move into the area, it does not even have the most basic infrastructure. Inadequate roads, no drains and absolutely no means of processing industrial waste all combine to produce the image of a Third World environment that harms the environment, quality of life and economic activity.