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Battle of the Seashores: Greece Has New Plan to Preserve Its Coasts Pristine


The Greek authorities on Friday printed an inventory of 198 “untrodden seashores” that it mentioned are actually off limits to bars, eating places and enormous public gatherings in its newest try and include improvement and deal with the backlash to the throngs of vacationers that descend on the nation’s coastlines every year.

The transfer comes amid rising frustration amongst residents of Greek islands and elements of the coastal mainland which are widespread with international guests. Protests ballooned right into a nationwide “seaside towel motion” final summer season as disgruntled locals complained that they have been being pushed off their very own seashores by companies searching for to make the most of a vacationer growth that introduced greater than 32 million international guests to Greece final yr.

On the nation’s Cycladic islands, native residents joined forces with the authorities to push again in opposition to a wave of building.

Greece’s conservative authorities has pledged to crack down on the event, and on seaside companies that violate laws. In February it handed a legislation geared toward regulating using the nation’s shoreline, imposing penalties of as much as 60,000 euros for companies occupying greater than 50 % of Greek seashores with umbrellas and solar beds.

Critics mentioned the legislation didn’t go far sufficient to curb the issue, with some claiming that the federal government was perpetuating the difficulty by not tackling unlawful land use extra comprehensively.

The checklist of “untrodden seashores,” unveiled in a joint settlement between Greece’s finance and setting ministers, is a part of a broader effort to revive steadiness, the federal government mentioned. “The primary aim is to mix environmental safety with sustainable improvement,” Kostis Hatzidakis, the economic system and finance minister, mentioned on Friday.

“The setting is a precious part of the Greek vacationer product,” he mentioned.

Below the brand new initiative, the federal government was placing public belongings “underneath a strict framework of guidelines, penalties and obligations,” Mr. Hatzidakis mentioned. Inspections and transparency can be elevated, as would “the enforcement of the legislation,” he added.

The seashores on the checklist are in areas included within the European Union’s Natura program, a community of weak habitats throughout Europe which are protected underneath European legislation. Among the many seashores listed on Friday are spots on widespread islands reminiscent of Milos, Naxos, Lesbos, Samothrace and within the southern Peloponnese peninsula.

The islands have been chosen primarily based on the recommendation of the nation’s Pure Setting and Local weather Change Company and are all “areas of excessive ecological significance,” Theodoros Skylakakis, the setting and power minister, mentioned on Friday.

Below the brand new initiative, no part of these seashores will be auctioned off for business use, and the presence of sun-loungers and umbrellas might be prohibited, as will the group of public occasions involving greater than 10 folks.

One other initiative being launched by the federal government is a brand new app known as “MyCoast,” on which individuals can report violations.

Some environmentalists in Greece weren’t impressed by Friday’s announcement. Eleni Andrianopoulou, a resident of Naxos and a member of an area “Save the seashores” group, mentioned the federal government’s unique plan had been for greater than 1,000 seashores nationwide to be lined, including that Natura areas require “actual safety.”

“From the start we had pressured that this reform for untrodden seashores was a fraud.”

Demetre Karavellas, director of the World Wildlife Fund Greece, mentioned the authorities have been leaping the gun with their checklist of pristine seashores, noting that there are greater than 100 marine and coastal areas in Greece which are acknowledged by the Natura program however have but to be successfully managed or conserved.

“The federal government ought to begin by complying with its fundamental authorized obligations earlier than creating new obscure classes of safety,” he mentioned.



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