Flood prevention a pretext to dredge river

Residents and environmental groups in the prefecture of Ileia in the western Peloponnese allege that local building contractors are illegally removing large quantities of sand from the bed of the Erymanthos River, which at this time of year is dry. The practice negatively impacts the riverine habitat, the flow of water and its absorption by the bed and banks of the river. «These activities are carried out at weekends when our service is closed, so it is up to the police, who have nevertheless made some arrests and imposed fines,» said Nikos Sianis of the Ileia Property Association. According to Elke Spiliopoulou, head of the Naturalist Association of Ancient Olympia, the practice began a year ago when subsidies were made available for flood prevention works after the summer forest fires.