from Dr George Papanicolaou
Scientific Advisor of the Mobile Mental Health Unit EPAPSY
As a doctor, I would like to address the pressing issue of public health and the environment on our island. Garbage and its collection are significant problems that can have severe consequences if we don’t give them the attention and responsibility they deserve. The accumulation of garbage can attract rats, mice, cockroaches, mosquitoes, and flies. These creatures are carriers of deadly diseases that can quickly spread on our island and cause large-scale epidemics, especially among the most vulnerable, such as children and the elderly. Inadequate garbage collection also produces toxic fumes and unpleasant odours that pollute the air we breathe daily. These pathogenic substances can cause respiratory problems, such as asthma, allergies, and other serious respiratory diseases. Moreover, garbage collection has a significant impact on our water sources. One daily garbage collection can pollute springs and aquifers and affect drinking water quality. The chemicals contained in garbage can seep into the soil and aquifers, threatening our long-term health. Living in a neglected and dirty environment can create tension, stress, and frustration for residents. Furthermore, such a degradation of our living environment can negatively affect our pride in our island. Lastly, it is essential to emphasise that poor garbage management impacts our island’s reputation. The image of a neglected and dirty island repels visitors and can harm our economy. However, we can still reverse this trend. We must invest in a robust waste collection and treatment infrastructure, efficient recycling, and responsible consumption. It is crucial to educate citizens about the necessity of waste management. We should encourage local initiatives and strengthen the organization of volunteers to protect the environment. A voluntary movement similar to the citizen’s movement for the beaches would be welcome. It is to protect our health, after all. I am confident that the new Mayor, Mr. Konstantinos Bizas, and the new City Council will make the appropriate decisions to solve this problem that endangers the lives of our compatriots, insults us in the eyes of our foreign visitors, and irreparably exposes our culture. It is unacceptable that a letter sent to the Director General of the “Solid Waste Management Agency of the South Aegean” (FOSDA), Mr. Chr. Gamvroudis, has not received a response yet. We can no longer sit idly by in the face of this danger that threatens our health and well-being. Let us join forces and react responsibly to create a healthy and prosperous environment. We can all protect the health of our families and our environment and strengthen our pride in our beautiful island.