Passing the buck

Saving Lake Koroneia is becoming a joke. For at least 15 years, the authorities have been meeting, studying reports and talking about projects that have never been carried out, with everyone blaming everyone else for the slow death of the lake. At the latest meeting at the Environment and Public Works Ministry, the findings were alarming. The entire bed of the lake is lying under a layer of toxic mud 1.5 meters thick, the water depth has dropped to its lowest level ever – 1.2 meters. Years of delaying the enactment of a master plan have made it unfeasible to dredge the lake bottom. What became clear at the meeting is that even this last opportunity to do something is being missed. The Thessaloniki prefect passed the buck to the Environment and Public Works Ministry and the European Union reprimanded the prefect, Panayiotis Psomiadis, for delays, which he in turn blamed on bureaucracy and staff shortages, among other things. No one seems to care about complaints having been filed at the European Court of Justice, nor even calls from President Karolos Papoulias. Arguments shifting responsibility from one pair of shoulders to another have been the rule. What matters is that plans to save the lake have foundered. If that can happen with Lake Koroneia, with so much publicity, one can only imagine what will happen to other wetlands far from the public eye.