European Commission court action against Greece over water treatment failings.
THE EUROPEAN Commission is taking Greece to the European Court of
Justice (ECJ) over alleged failures to properly treat wastewater in 24
towns and cities. Brussels claims that the Greek government has failed
to uphold standards that should have been in place by 2000 because of
the urban wastewater treatment directive. Communities harmed by
resulting excess pollution are Artemida, Rafina, Nea Makri, Koropi,
Markopoulo, Megara, Nea Kydonia, Malia, Chrysoupoli, Porou-Galata,
Tripoli, Katerini, Preveza, Litohoro, Zakynthos, Alexandreia, Lefkimi,
Nafpaktos, Igoumentitsa, Thessaloniki-tourist zone, Irakleio, Edessa,
Kalymnos and Paroikia Parou. A Commission statement said: "The lack
of treatment means that the health of residents in these areas is being
put at risk since untreated waste water can be contaminated with harmful
bacteria and viruses. Untreated wastewater also contains nutrients such
as nitrogen and phosphorous which can damage the marine environment by
promoting excessive growth of algae that chokes off other life."
The Commission was especially unhappy because "Greece is eligible
for, and has received, considerable EU funding for improvements to its
environmental infrastructure" and that "proper waste water
treatment is ... an important factor in ensuring a thriving tourist
industry" for Greece.