People of all ages on the job

The volunteers ranged from parents with their young children to teenagers and priests. Vassilis Megdanis, a professional driver from Piraeus, came with his 4-year-old son Miltiadis in order to inculcate in him «the first principles for the environment.» «We thought we’d come and help to exercise our environmental consciousness,» said Fay Tzanetou from Kato Patissia and Spyros Kentros from Galatsi, both 17. «We filled a bag with garbage but didn’t dare go into the river without galoshes.» Father Constantinos of Adames came along to show his support for «something that is for the good of the country.» «The state will do the main work, but we are making a start,» he said. Boy scouts, Red Cross workers and representatives of municipalities from all over Attica were there. «What we are seeing here is a celebration,» said Anna Koroyiannaki, the deputy mayor of Kifissia. «I believe that people are enjoying the effort. They certainly have become more aware. They have to put pressure on the municipalities and other organizations because that is the only way to have a say. That is the only way to get the message across that our river must be saved.» The Kaercher equipment firm has installed a device that converts the polluted river water into drinking water. «We have been testing the water here for a week to see if people could drink it safely. It calls for some preparation but it is a symbolic act, as we want to show that the water of the Kifissos can be safely consumed,» said Dimitris Papadoyiannis, a Kaercher staff member. Parliamentary deputy Andreas Loverdos, wearing gloves, was on his knees trying to prise a piece of insulation material from the soil. «I have become active quite recently, both out of guilt that I was so late in doing so and because I want to show that we politicians don’t just talk but do actually do things,» he said. This article first appeared in the May 13 issue of Kathimerini’s color supplement K.