Monday, October 22, 2007

On Clean beaches and the future of Greece

Ok, my penultimate post has of course caused some confusion. And i find myself coming under fire for a) Trying to ruin the tourism market of Greece, or b) Exaggerating the situation in Greece when it comes to the clean beaches. So i will try to clear things up.

The fact is that the the natural coastal environment from Spain, France to Italy has to a large extent been destroyed by rapid urbanisation and especially a policy of attracting tourists through the building of houses and resorts on the beach. In the face of this limited competition, Greece does have some of the best beaches in the Med and the world.

However. And this is the point i wanted to make, if we do what the other countries did, and follow this governments policy of building on beaches, we will destroy them just like the other countries have with their beaches. Its not rocket science. Sure, now, the beaches are nice, but if we continue along our current path... And the problem is i dont see any measures in place to protect the environment. And the government is furiously promoting property tourism, while i don't see any other economic development policies such as an IT policy for example.

Anyway here are some links for you
Mediterranean Basin on brink of ruin
Mediterranean faces ruin


Anonymous said...

I don't think that there can be any doubt that the state of Greece's coastline has deteriorated dramatically over the last few years.

For years Greece has marketed itself abroad as a timeless land with an unspoilt environment. A country of pristine tree-lined beaches and crystal clear water teeming with fish.

The truth is that huge areas of the coastline are being ruined.

There is over-development (legal and illegal), there is serious pollution of the seas as waste (including raw sewage) is simply dumped and the once-teeming waters are being over-fished and poisoned to the extent that many species are in danger of vanishing from the mediterannean altogether.

I have very little hope that the pubic institutions of Greece can protect what is left or save what has already been lost.

They are impotent, inept and corrupt.

A quick story from my personal experience will illustrate my point.

My family has been travelling to Spetses for the last 12 years or so.

Much of the island is owned by a private school and, for some reason, cannot be built on.

As a result it has very little tourist infrastructure and today remains pine-covered and very beautiful.

A few years ago there were serious fires on the island that destroyed much of the forest.

These were started by a smouldering rubbish dump that is situated opposite Spetsopoula (a small island owned by the Niarchos family).

Back then the rubbish for the entire island was collected and tipped over a cliff. It was not treated in any way. It was a terrible scar on the island and a nasty shock to anyone first seeing (and smelling) it. You could smell the tip from half a mile away and it smouldered constantly - even after rain.
The rain, while a welcome prevention against further fires washed the rubbish into the sea.

After the fires and numerous warnings, appeals and threats of fines from residents, environmentalists and the EU it was said that the rubbish would be collected and shipped across to the mainland.

No more tipping.

No more run-off into our precious sea.

It is now years later.

What is the situation?

Exactly the same as before.

All the rubbish being still being dumped into a smouldering tip.


Vassili - Mike said...

Do you mind if I repeat this story in a later post, you know, give it a headline. I just dont want such tragedies getting missed. Actually what i really want to do is line up the politicians and beat them on the head with these stories, but alas my dreams never come true...

Anonymous said...

Of course my friend. Feel free.

Can I be the first to volunteer to help you with the beating?