NEWS

‘Polluters’ of Asopos River are identified

The identities of 17 manufacturers and 11 regional and central government officials, highlighted as key contributors to heavy pollution in the Asopos River in central Greece in a report by a top public official in March 2008 but not named, were revealed yesterday by an MEP of the Ecologist Greens party. The names of the manufacturers and the officials, chiefly former regional and prefectural officials alleged to have issued operating licenses to the firms, had been included in a report compiled by the general inspector of public administration, Leandros Rakintzis, but the names in the report have never been published. According to Michalis Tremopoulos, the MEP who revealed the names, the conclusions of the report are very serious and demand action. «The report’s findings highlight criminal collusion on a grand scale between manufacturers, regional authorities and the local administration,» Tremopoulos said. According to the MEP, the report also «confirmed suspicions that the previous government’s intervention in the workings of state environment inspectors essentially served to cover up the environmental crimes being committed.» Last month Margarita Karavassili, a senior official at the Environment Ministry’s inspectorate, heralded the creation of a trade park with special provisions in an area near the Asopos River by this summer. The hundreds of manufacturers operating within this zone would be obliged to conform to a set of regulations aimed at protecting the environment, Karavassili said.