Chemical waste worries Cretans

first_imgThe World Council of Cretans last week expressed its opposition and outrage to the proposed and ‘secretly planned’ destruction of chemical weapons from Syria in the Mediterranean sea areas west of Crete. The response comes as the internationally praised August deal between the USA and Russia, to destroy the Syrian chemical arsenal, failed. The chemicals were meant to be transferred outside Syria by the end of December 2013 and destroyed by June 2014. With the December deadline already missed, discussions now suggest the possibility of chemical waste being dumped in the Mediterranean, in an area between Crete, Malta and Libya. This scenario is becoming likelier since Italy has promised to offer a port for the two Danish and Norwegian ships which will transport the lethal chemical weapons. The president of the World Council of Cretans, Tony Tsourdalakis, told Neos Kosmos that the council condemns this decision that could have a catastrophic impact on the island. “We condemn the decision of the respective government to dump the Syrian chemicals to the South of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. This is a catastrophic decision of huge proportions, that will not only harm sea life, but will possibly cause health and contamination issues. Most importantly, it will deter tourists from the south coastal beaches of Crete, putting a large dint in the Greek tourist industry,” he told Neos Kosmos. Mr Tsourdalakis said the council believed that responsibility for the preservation and destruction of the chemical weapons lies with the countries of production that supplied the weapons to Syria. “Certainly this was not Greece. The World Council of Cretans – and in particular the 500 Cretan organisations globally and one million Cretans in and out of Crete – express their utmost concerns and condemn these actions. We urge the Greek government, via its role in the United Nations and in light of the fact that it has the European presidency, to request that this dangerous, criminal and unacceptable action ceases immediately.” “We unite our voice with the voice of all Greeks to stop this crime that will certainly affect the health of nearby countries and even more Greece,” he said. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has estimated that about 1,300 tons of chemical weapons, most of which are mustard gas based, will be destroyed via hydrolysis. In the light of concerns over the environmental and health impact of the planned destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal in international waters west of Chania, intense concerns and opposition were expressed by the Medical Association of Chania. “The procedure to be followed has not been elucidated completely and could possibly pose serious risks to the ecosystem of the region and the bordering regions, such as Chania. In particular, the reported hydrolysis process is not sufficient for complete inactivation of the derivatives of the quantities of chemical weapons of Syria to be destroyed,” it was said in the statement. The Medical Association of Chania urged the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Use of Chemical Weapons, the two organisations responsible for the destruction process of those chemicals, to adjust their schedules and to provide ultimate safety in the areas of chemical processing. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img