Salvage plan for disaster-struck lake

The prefecture of Thessaloniki has approved a 17-million-euro program to help clean up northern Greece’s Lake Koroneia after a recent ecological disaster hit the area, killing almost 30,000 birds and hundreds of fish. Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis yesterday announced the program that will involve the construction of a drainage network worth 11 million euros and commission studies on ways to protect the lake. The drainage system will help prevent pollution from being poured into the body of water, located some 20 kilometers east of Thessaloniki. At least 29 species of birds died at the lake in September and people were warned to stay away from the area after an onslaught by the neurotoxin-producing Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Experts said that heavy pollution in the lake meant the bacteria multiplied much faster than usual. Other measures already adopted include a ban on fishing and cutting the amount of water industrial plants can use from the lake. Next week, the prefecture will submit a revised master plan to the European Commission on ways to protect Lake Koroneia and seek 30 million euros from the Cohesion Fund.

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