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Storm brews over Symi sewage

- by Dave Sewel

Storm brews over Symi holiday sewage.

Tourism on the Greek island of Symi could collapse if nothing is done to clean up pollution and provide safer drinking water, officials have been warned.

Sewage outflows into the sea at Gialos and the nearby Symi holiday resort of Pedi is causing increasing concern for local people.

A letter to the regional council urges swift action to investigate the extent of pollution and to set up a well designed project for the collection and biological treatment of waste water.

A letter to the regional council says: "Pedi sewage ends up next to the stadium where children play sports and where water is pumped for desalination.

"There are no suitable resources to develop the proper infrastructure such as waste water purification. Tourism development in Symi is in danger of collapse at any time if there is no directly appropriate environmental infrastructure."

Political infighting among municipal leaders are blamed for years so of inaction over improvements to the island's sewage treatment problem.

Now locals have asked regional officials to "undertake a survey on the situation in Symi with waste water treatment and to immediately inform the district council on initiatives to stop the pollution and environmental contamination."

Visitors to Symi have complained at the stench of raw sewage going straight into the bay at Gialos. "It does not add much to the general atmosphere," said one visitor.

Holiday companies advise visitors to Symi not to drink the local water. They say the tap water is safe but recommend that tourists drink bottled water.

The water supply on Symi is very limited and, in the summer months, water is shipped by tanker from Rhodes and rationed out weekly to homes and hotels on the island.