Euro action over Zante turtles
Joe Mason: March 2013
Anger ar waste dumping on turtle nest beach.
One good reason not to book a Greek island holiday in Laganas on Zante this year — Greece is to face European court action over the illegal dumping of waste on the holiday beach of Kalamaki. Years of protests have failed to stop unlawful waste dumping on Kalamaki beach which is an important nesting ground for endangered loggerhead sea turtles
The European Court of Justice has now ruled that Greece will be indicted to stand trial over the issue after repeated warnings about the Kalamaki dump have been ignored.
The latest move follows a European ruling against Greece in 2002 for failing to take adequate measures to protect its endangered Careta Careta loggerhead sea turtle population, which is threatened with extinction.
It was only in July 2011, following months of delay, that the Greek Ministry of Environment Energy and Climate Change finally released operational funds to the Zakynthos National Marine Park to cover salaries for staff involved in the marine protection project since 2010.
This funding delay led to insufficient patrols of turtle nests on the beach, the construction of an illegal car park, the building of a breakwater and a significant decrease in the number of nests counted on the beach in 2011.
The 2011 summer nesting season notched up the highest ever recorded number of dead and stranded turtles as the Greek government continued to ignore its responsibilities.
Experts fear that the loss of such a large number of adult turtles may irreversibly affect the loggerhead population's attempts to reproduce each year s on Zakynthos beaches.
Despite the European Commission's intervention on illegal landfills in Greece, the unlawful waste dump continues to operate on Kalamaki beach and it has even been expanded with the construction of two new dump sites.
The Zante authorities claim they can't find anywhere to build a new landfill and say they intend to operate the existing one illegally until 2015.
The wanton destruction of turtle nesting sites in Laganas Bay has been a national disgrace for the Zante authorities, unable or unwilling to comply with turtle protection laws despite the resort trading on its beaches as turtle nesting sites.
Anyone who cares for Greece or the environment should stay away from Laganas and Kalamaki beaches until the Greek and Zante officials see some sense.