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Erimitis is not for sale!

October 24, 2012
Erimitis is not for sale

The Greek government is in the process of selling off anything it can sell against ridiculous prices to so-called pay off its debts. Huge chunks of valuable infrastructure such as airports, ports, water companies and public sector companies are being sold at a tiny fraction of their value. As if that wasn’t enough, the state decided to also sell areas of unspoilt natural beauty to be “developed” by foreign companies. A special law (called “fast track”) has been voted to bypass all time-consuming procedures such as doing an assessment of the consequences of a -plan on the environment. One of those areas of natural beauty is Erimitis, an area of about 450.000 square meters (about 45 acres). Erimitis is a valuable ecosystem as it contains three sweet water lakes which are used by migratory birds. Together with the Antinioti lake at Agios Spyridon and the lake of Butrint across the channel in Albania we are talking about a marine ecosystem of several square kilometers.

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The local population is not buying the state’s story about investors coming to spend their money and create jobs on Corfu. The locals know very well that if Erimitis is “touristically developed” it will be totally destroyed. Rumours are talking about a mega-complex of hotels, bungalows and private beaches with 5000 beds (way larger than any existing hotel on Corfu). The locals know that they will not even be offered a job there as workers in the complex will come from other, even more underdeveloped, countries. Or maybe by that time the basic wage in Greece will be down to 200€, in which case the investors may start considering hiring Greeks. So the local population is fighting against the plans to sell off Erimitis.

And the greatest thing is they are not just against the sale. They have a viable alternative to propose! They want to keep Erimitis a protected wildlife zone and increase its protection status. They want to have people visit Erimitis with a minimal impact on wildlife, by foot, horse and donkey. They want to create a destination for nature-loving tourists from all around the world to spend really green holidays on Corfu.

Last Sunday, 21 October, more than 200 people walked the paths of Erimitis from Avlaki to Agios Stefanos. They enjoyed the peace and quiet of the area, marvelled at the unspoilt nature, were impressed by the great biodiversity and enjoyed a swim at one of the secluded beaches. Afterwards there was a small festival with music, souvlakia, beer and many interesting discussions.

We fully support the people struggling to save Erimitis in their attempt to make Corfu greener in every aspect! You can vote against the selling off of Erimitis and you can join the Save Erimitis group on Facebook. Finally, here’s a video of the walk:

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