OPINION

Hymettus, death of a mountain

One year after destructive wildfires on Mount Hymettus and just a few days after another blaze at Glyka Nera, the landscape of this much-lauded and heavily scarred mountain looks worse than ever. The scorched land is being infringed upon, classified as agricultural land and built on. Meanwhile, local municipal authorities are playing a lead role in this rape of the environment with a plethora of contradictory, irresponsible interventions. Calls from scientists and environmental groups to set up a forest protection program, to clearly define the boundaries of the land, to study the environmental impact of the fires and their aftermath and to have Hymettus designated as a protected zone, have failed to move the state and the government. The safeguarding of a precious natural resource for a concrete-choked Athens does not seem to strike any chords with any officials. All we get is silence, and criminal, intentional ambiguity: No one knows what is forest and what is residential land, how areas are designated under the Natura program, or under what environmental conditions new tunnels can be dug through the mountain. Meanwhile, Hymettus is slowly dying.