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Action on illegal Andros waste dump

- by John Swift

Action on illegal Andros waste dump.

Moves are under way to remove tons of rubbish dumped illegally on one of the most important archaeological sites in the Greek islands. The valley slopes at the archaeological site Strofila, in the Stavropedra area of central Andros, has suffered for years from illegal dumping of household waste, plastic and old cars.

Heavy rains washed tons of rubbish into the sea at nearby Shinias beach. A floating barrier erected to contain the rubbish was swept away in bad weather adding to the pollution of the surrounding seas.

Now agreement has been reached between municipal authorities on the holiday island of Andros and the Central Archaeological Council to bulldoze the rubbish into a nearby unused quarry.

The illegal rubbish dump is less than 300m from the major 4000BC Neolithic settlement of Strofila, the site of some of the earliest rock paintings ever found in Greece. 

The rock drawings of a boat and various wild animals and birds are regarded as some of Greece's most historic finds.

Under the latest plan, the Strofila area will be restored and debris that fell into the sea below the Neolithic settlement, will be removed. Visiting archaeological sites is a popular outing for those on Greek Islands travel holidays.

The illegal dump that has been condemned by the Council of State and authorities warned that illegal dumping cannot continue. New European Union rules allow fines of up to €30,000 per day for rubbish dumped after July 1. It is expected to take about two years to clean up the site.

The dump has been described as an 'extensive ecological disaster' by ecology campaigners Archipelagos. They claimed the site poses a 'serious threat to the coastal ecosystems of Andros and the marine ecosystems of the Aegean.'