Kifissos plan meets opposition

Experts joined residents of the southern Athens suburbs of Moschato and Neo Faliron in expressing opposition to imminent plans by the Environment and Public Works Ministry to divert more waste water into the Kifissos River. A report compiled and made public yesterday by two professors from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) has highlighted that there could be serious environmental implications to the move. The ministry is reportedly considering diverting a sewage pipe, the Ilissos River and the Profitis Ilias Stream toward the already heavily polluted Kifissos. «There is still doubt as to whether it is a positive step to transfer untreated waste to such a short distance from the Faliron coastline,» argued professors Manlis Aftias and Dimitris Koutsoyiannis of the NTUA’s hydrological sciences department. The river runs through Moschato and Neo Faliron before emptying into the Saronic Gulf. Residents living along the Kifissos and around the Faliron Delta are concerned about the pollution to which they could be exposed. «The Kifissos is once again the easy solution,» Apostolos Aloniatis of the Kifi-SOS residents’ movement told Kathimerini. Aloniatis claims the ministry has devised the plan because it fears areas of central Athens could suffer flooding if there is heavy rain. He added that the move goes against the government’s pledges to clean up the Kifissos. «At night or on the weekends when there are no checks, trucks dump hazardous waste in the Kifissos in the section between Rendi and Neo Faliron,» Aloniatis said. Meanwhile, experts have also drawn attention to the dumping in the Profitis Ilias Stream in Elaionas, near central Athens, of untreated waste by some 2,000 companies. University of Athens geology professor Efthimios Lekkas said yesterday that high levels of magnesium, nitrates and other potentially harmful substances had been found in the stream and if they are washed into the Kifissos and then the Saronic Gulf, it could have a damaging impact on the environment.