Sunday, October 23rd at 10:00 am
The National Park of Marathon-Schinias is a unique ecosystem in Attica and in Greece. It is one of the few areas where a pine forest and wetlands verge onto a sandy beach and coastal dune system. The entire Park is a protected area, but one which neither the government, in the form of the National Park organisation, nor the Municipality, are able to protect.
Illegal tavernas and beach bars have expanded in the area, in clear violation of at least three major zoning laws (proximity to the waterline; the fact that this is a forest area; the fact that it is a national park). Rather than closing these establishments, the government turns a blind eye to the fact that they operate, as well as to the fact that they have gained access to private electricity provision, and operate with what amounts to an illegal restaurant licence.
The second major problem is that of unrestricted access. Schinias is a popular summer swimming destination: one estimate claims that every day, at least 10,000 people in about 3,000 cars visit the park. They leave tonnes of litter behind; their cars destroy the root system of the pine forest; some go as far as to set up grills and cook their food, which is a major fire hazard during the high-temperature, high-wind, dry summer season.
Since 2008, a group of volunteers named the “Friends of Schinias” has organised six clean-ups of the National Park. Initiated by Philip Ammerman of Navigator Consulting Group, and with the support of private sector companies, embassies, schools, NGOs and the media, we have cleaned hundreds of tonnes of litter in an effort to make the park safer and cleaner, and to remove fire and health hazards.
On Sunday, October 23rd, we are meeting for our seventh cleanup, starting at 10:00 am.
This Sunday’s cleaning has been initiated by Elix, one of Greece’s best volunteer organisations, and the Conservation Volunteers Alliance . We will be meeting at the parking lot near the “Dolphin” restaurant, at the end of the asphalt road, at the NE corner of the park near the “Dikastes”.
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