‘Let’s go wherever it goes,’ again

‘Let’s go wherever it goes,’ again

Alternate Health Minister Eirini Agapidaki warned the public in Thessaly and other flooded areas to drink only bottled water.

It doesn’t take a lot of brains to realize that Agapidaki is rightly concerned about the quality of the water in the areas of Greece affected by the floods. Everyone understands that the lakes created in villages and fields pose health risks to people. In there are dead animals, chemicals that may have been stored and dissolved in the water, petroleum products, animal and human excreta etc. The first cases of skin diseases and mild forms of gastroenteritis are already appearing.

It is also common sense that we have to worry about water supply systems. No one knows what damage they might have suffered after such a disaster, and broken pipes are the least of them. Some cracked pipes may be mixing clean with contaminated water. This could happen in central areas or even outside every citizen’s home. The complex water supply system needs a thorough inspection before the authorities give the green light for its use. This is what all the scientists are saying and the minister is rightly listening to them.

The complex water supply system needs a thorough inspection before the authorities give the green light for its use

Agapidaki was rebutted by the mayor of Volos, Achilleas Beos, known for his confrontational style – among other things. In addition to the – primary-school level – puns he made about Agapidaki’s surname (whose first half means love in Greek), the “sharp Voliot” (as former SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras would have called him) stated that “I go mad when I hear dumb things from people who have a position of responsibility… We took samples from seven different points. We will have the results soon. The water is chlorinated, but not potable. The general director of [the Municipal Water Supply and Sewerage Company of the Greater Volos Region] also said this at a previous press conference.”

It’s a wonder then, I guess, that Boeing grounded the entire fleet of the 737 MAX passenger airliners in 2019 after a series of accidents. The company CEO could have just said: “We checked seven different aircraft. We will have the results soon. The engines are running. The company’s technical director also said so,” and get it over with.

Beos’ opinions – ignoring the insulting adjectives that usually follow them – are commonplace for the country of “Let’s go wherever it goes” (the infamous comment of the train driver to a ticket clerk overheard by a passenger in the fateful passenger train that collided head-on with a commercial locomotive in central Greece last February).

Safety specifications are fine print for officials and the public. “Let’s go wherever it goes,” they said shortly before the fatal accident in Tempe; “Let’s go with the ferry ramp lowered. What could happen?” the crew members of the Blue Horizon thought shortly before the murder of a passenger at the port of Piraeus. This is probably how the flood control works in Thessaly were also built: “Come now! What could possibly happen?”

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