Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Perusing the Greek press, I hit upon some really disturbing news: Dozens of birds (mainly flamingos and avocets) were discovered dead on and around the shores of lake Koroneia in northern Greece.

There are hardly any words to describe my frustration; I become angry as I read that this is not the first time that birds actually "die" (or, shall I say "were left to die"?) in the region - only three years ago, in 2004, another group of birds "disappeared". I become appalled as I realize that much of the responsibility lies with people, authorities and the such who appear to have neglected the much needed infrastructure development in the region; said infrastructure would contribute to the preservation of the lake ecosystem which appears to be heavily polluted. Not only that, but regular water-testing for the purposes of controlling the quality of waters has yet to take effect making early detection of bacteria virtually impossible. Still, scientists had been warning of such a disaster since February 2007 when they discovered a deadly bacterium in the waters of the lake, but to no avail.

And, there is more to go. The population of said bacterium increased exponentially, I read, in part because the water levels have been steadily dropping. Why would that be, I wonder. Well, this is because temperature in the area has been increasing over the last years and rainfall has become a rare commodity. Not surprisingly, the concentration of bacteria in water has also increased. And here comes some unanticipated news: the fish that swim in the water become infected by the bacteria...

Stupid, stupid flamingos and avocets then eat the fish that swim in the lake and because of that, they die.

Surely the birds are to be blamed for since people "tried, but could not prevent the crisis" to quote a Greek official, in what was an "anticipated disaster" according to scientists.

I do not know if there is any need for me to go further but I shall stop only because what I read really transcends reason and reasoning and borders schizophrenia: I read that part of the infrastructure work has been completed but not put into use... yet. I read the warnings of scientists that hunting must stop to prevent the spreading of the bacterium of further in the food chain. Is there an official issuing? Yes? No? Maybe? Certainly nowhere near I could see...

I wholeheartedly hope that I am at least partly wrong and things are far better in real life. Yet I have no good reason to believe that my hopes are anything but wishful thinking - the environment has been severely and systematically abused and destruction continues unabated it seems. Still no government has cared enough to make environment a priority; that Greece has no ministry to deal exclusively with issues of the Environment, but instead the bogus "Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works" is nauseating, no doubt about that.

Worse still it is horrifying - if incidents such as this in the Koroneia lake or the disastrous wildfires that ravaged Greek forests and killed dozens of people this summer do not constitute sufficient grounds for the creation of a Ministry of Environment, then what does? What catastrophe should we pray for [sic] for people's minds to change? How heavy of a toll must we pay for what arguably falls under common sense?


Τοξικός θάνατος στη λίμνη των βακτηρίων
Μαζικός θάνατος πουλιών στη Λίμνη Κορώνεια

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