NEWS

Kifissos delta an eyesore of garbage and pollution

It was supposed to be turned into a park with walkways and recreational areas, but it is still little more than a polluted dump. The mouth of the Kifissos River that includes the Faliron marina was scheduled for inclusion in a restoration plan for the area in advance of the Olympic Games, but for some unknown reason the work remained unfinished. Now garbage and rubble are piling up, both in the sea and on the shore. No ministry or any other authority accepts responsibility for it. It lies just a few hundred meters from the Peace and Friendship Stadium, where sports events and exhibitions are frequently held, attracting large crowds. Just to the left of the Kifissos River mouth is a small pier. Huge concrete blocks are lined up alongside it, along with rubble, a rusted platform, and two wrecks of small ships. On every corner garbage bags have mounted up, surrounded by a number of rat carcasses. At the end of the pier is a pile of soil, rocks and garbage. The mouth of the river is not protected by any net to catch the refuse that it carries down to the sea, as the Athens Water and Sewage Company (EYDAP) fears this would dam up the river. Still, the river mouth has not been cleaned up for some time, creating problems for craft moored at the marina alongside. Toward the stadium lies an open space planted with what are now withered trees and a ship’s mast standing squarely in the middle. In front of it, two parallel sidewalks follow the route of what would have been a road, only to peter out a few meters further on. Along the sidewalks are more piles of concrete, metal and garbage. In an attempt to find out who is responsible for the site and what they are planning to do about it, Kathimerini talked first of all to the Municipality of Piraeus. «This site is on the municipality’s border, but it is not within our jurisdiction,» was the reply. At the next port of call, the Environment and Public Works Ministry, we were referred to Greek Tourism Properties (ETA). «In fact, there is construction in progress on the site,» said a ministry engineer visiting the area. At ETA, the managing director, Mr Zacharopoulos, said that ETA was actually the owner of the site «but it was granted to the ministry before the Olympic Games.» The area between the stadium and the section underneath the new flyovers belongs to several different organizations. For example, a few square meters here and there might belong to Tram SA (wherever the tram lines run), with a section belonging to the Municipality of Piraeus right alongside and then another section to the ministry. Yet another section might belong to the stadium. The mouth of the Kifissos is another example of the Greek State’s absolute illogicality. An area that could be used for parkland has been abandoned, while its true «owners,» the residents of Neo Faliron and neighboring Moschato, are cut off from the seafront by Poseidonos Avenue. It has gone the way of many similar projects envisioned by our various politicians and all manner of other powers that be.