Tide turns on Attica beaches

Beaches in Attica are not as clean and safe as we think, according to Greek scientists who say that almost a quarter of the sandy stretches they inspected were not up to standard. The head of the Panhellenic Center of Ecological Research (PAKOE) Panayiotis Christodoulakis told Skai Radio yesterday that his organization inspected 231 beaches in and around Athens and found 53 to be unsuitable for bathers. Christodoulakis said that PAKOE’s researchers used the cleanliness of the water, safety and the beach’s organization as criteria for assessing whether they were suitable. Last month, it was revealed that the number of blue flags for quality that were awarded to Greek beaches this year increased to 430 from 428 in 2007, ranking the country second in a list of 40 nations. Christodoulakis said that eight of these beaches were in Attica but that PAKOE’s tests indicated that two of them did not come up to the standards set by the ecological organization.