Coastal erosion worsening, experts warn


Coastal erosion has wreaked a significant impact on nearly a third of Greek beaches, according to data made public on Wednesday at a seminar in Athens organized by the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) which also reported problems at river estuaries. 

Specifically, the TEE’s investigation found that 28.6 percent of Greece’s coastline has a problem with erosion with some areas particularly hard hit.

On Crete, for instance, 65.8 percent of beaches – or 756 kilometers out of its total of 1,148 kilometers – are eroded. In central Macedonia, 371 kilometers out of its 821 kilometers of coastline have also suffered from erosion.

According to Revekka Batmanoglou, an expert on climate change and atmospheric quality at the Environment Ministry, the banks of river estuaries are the most susceptible to the impact of erosion.

Serapheim Poulos, a professor of oceanography at the University of Athens, said that the banks of estuaries of the River Alfeios, which runs through the Peloponnese, have eroded by up to 400 meters since 1945.

The aggravation of the problem over the years has led to a slew of appeals for the approval of anti-erosion projects being lodged with the Finance Ministry.

“Local authorities submit appeals for anti-erosion projects but often the studies are neither adequate nor based on recent data,” said Athina Marmara, an associate of the head of the General Secretariat for Public Wealth, a department within the Finance Ministry.

A study of the eastern Aegean carried out in 2013 by French scientists and local environmental groups, based on the use of aerial photographs, pointed to widespread coastal erosion, shrinking seagrass beds and the desertification of small islands.