martedì 3 febbraio 2009


Pollution Flows in Asopos

Mythologically speaking, the Asopos River is said to
have been born a son of Oceanus and Tethys--or
Poseidon and Pero --or Zeus and Eurynome. There are,
in fact, five rivers of that name, four in Greece and
one in Turkey. All of these rivers have been
historically significant to the populations residing
on their banks; but the one I'm talking about is
possibly the most historically relevant, and currently
the most endangered.

Because death flows in the Asopos River, straight to
the town of Oinofyta.

Death by specific toxins. The river's fish are dead,
and those villages who get their water from the river
will soon be dead or dying. The river runs red-not
just a symbol of death, but literally from the heavy
hexavalent chromium content. The 30,000 residents of
the town of Oinofyta who depend on the river for
drinking water and everything else are trapped by
circumstance; they are suffering, and although the
mayor of that town has declared the water unsafe, they
have no other sources.

Statistics show cancer rates in Oinofyta have risen
from 6% in 1989 to 32% (most current available). The
water's chromium content has tested to be 400,000
times above the permissible maximum.

A number of heavy industry, paint manufacturers and
food manufacturers- at least 85 separate
industries -use the river to dispose of waste. And
even though this past year, six manufacturers were
found guilty of pollution and fined, the rivers still
run with poison.

This is not something we can ignore. The Greek people
should know their own government is turning a blind
eye to this disaster. The whole world should know.

A threefold effort must be put into place:

First, alternative potable water sources must be
secured for those residents who depend on the Asopos.


Second, the pollution must stop.

Third, the polluters must clean up the mess they have
made of the river, AND the poisoned fields whose
cultivation has for centuries depended on that
now-lethal water. For justice to be served, they must
clean up the injuries they caused in people's lives.

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