Pledge for clean water by year-end

The residents of Oinofyta and Avlida, who currently draw their drinking water from the heavily polluted Asopos River, will have clean water by Christmas when their networks are connected to the Athens Water Company (EYDAP), Deputy Environment and Public Works Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis said yesterday. After talks with local officials, Kaloyiannis said the EYDAP connection will be ready by year-end. Two million euros have been earmarked for building the supply network and two new refineries. Officials also decided to commission a study aimed at supplying other areas bordering the Asopos with fresh water from the River Mornos. Another proposal was to supply Oropos, Halkoutsi and other regional settlements with water from the natural springs at Mavrosouvala in Attica. Environmental experts say the root of the problem is the mismanagement of industrial waste which, ultimately, is the state’s responsibility. «The law dictates that special zones be created for the dumping of dangerous waste but this has never been done,» environmental law expert Giorgos Balias told Kathimerini after a seminar in Oropos about the Asopos problem. «All manufacturers are obliged to submit studies outlining the environmental impact of their activities but everyone knows this doesn’t happen,» he added. Balias said authorities should review all local firms’ licenses. State inspections have already led to fines being imposed on many firms found to be dumping toxic waste in the Asopos.