Bad News in Oinofyta
The saying «No news is good news» is not always true.
Recently I started poring the headlines looking for fresh news from OINOFYTA, Greece.
Factories have been dumping waste in the Asopos River for decades, resulting in such severe pollution in Oinofyta that the residents have been held hostage by the damage. The water is undrinkable and untouchable; the tourist beaches have been declared unfit for swimming.
In the news, a few months ago, there was brief political acknowledgement and uproar. The pollution was recognized. Politicians promised to bring down the law on the factories and industries which had compromised the safety of the water by dumping industrial waste into the river.
There were a lot of promises made. Punishment, fines levied against the perpetrators. Developments in providing fresh and healthy drinking water for the residents. Monitoring and controls put in place to prevent more pollutions. Water cleaning facilities.
So of course, I open my newspapers and turn on my computer thinking I will see plenty of articles of all of these good things coming to life–all of these promises made by politicians to protect their constituency from poisoning by industrial pollutors.
But I see nothing.
No new news.
No positive developments.
The only news I find is more public outcry by the damaged parties.
On December 6. Reuters released an article detailing the hazards of chromium 6: «Used as an anti-corrosive in the production of stainless steel, paint, ink, plastics and dyes, the metal is on the European Union’s list of restricted substances and listed as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization.»
This isn’t really news. The only recent news regarding chromium 6 is that it is more dangerous than they thought it was; instead of only causing lung cancer, it is now «believed in some medical circles to cause an array of blood and intestinal cancers when ingested in water.»
I continued reading the Reuters article. I did find something new, but it was not news of all of the progress that has been done.
I found a new outcry from the public.
It is true that in August, inspectors dug up 20 illegal pipelines dumping untreated waste in violation of regulations.
It is true that in November, the government imposed two million dollars worth of fines against the twenty guilty companies.
It is also true that the companies are planning to protest–and that there are more polluters out there.
In fact, one of the comments on my blog included a letter from a local detailing how the factories were polluting the aquifer by piping their polluted waste into deep wells rather than pumping to the river and getting caught.
So we hear the public outcry.
We hear the voice of biochemical engineer Thanasis Panteloglou who has been trying to get this area cleaned up since 2000. And now he asks, Why are they killing us?» said Panteloglou. «I am shouting: stop committing this crime, stop killing the people. Someone has to hear me.»
We hear you Thanasis.
We hear you and we ask, how can we help?
ΠΡΟΣ Ελληνική συντεταγμένη Πολιτεία, ενταύθα: ΤΙ ΤΗΣ ΑΠΑΝΤΑΜΕ;