Mortgaging the future of us all

The diversion of the country’s second-longest river, the Acheloos in western Greece to the heavily farmed plain of Thessaly, demonstrates that serving local interests can often be very shortsighted and is invariably destructive. Such tactics play havoc with our ecosystems. In this case, the diversion of the Acheloos to the primitive irrigation system of the Thessaly plain is causing the death of the river, as half of its precious water is being lost. Valuable resources are being wasted on the cultivation of cotton – a crop that requires high volumes of water and relies on European Union subsidies which are often four times above its market price. But soon these subsidies will dry up and the cotton will remain in the farmers’ hands. What then will be the demands of agricultural union chiefs who sacrificed natural resources in exchange for local votes? By that time, the destruction will be total, irrevocable and have an impact on the entire country. By then, the water will have been lost, our ecosystems will have suffered irreversible damage and our countryside will have slipped yet further into degeneration. This is mortgaging our future for petty political reasons. The cotton from our plains has an expiry date, one which is not too far off. But the crime of diverting the Acheloos is ongoing and the damage will be impossible to undo.

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