The Ionian island of Zakynthos is facing a series of environmental problems, especially the increase in the level of underground brackish water caused by uncontrolled drilling, highlighting the inadequacy of current water management policies.
An efficient water management system is particularly relevant to Zakynthos island, considering its extremely high annual rainfall figures. The current pessimistic scenario can only be changed by urgently putting in place efficient water management and collection policies, according to Elisavet Maroti, the TEDK development counselor for the island. Ms. Maroti puts the blame for the current state of affairs squarely on the island community, whom she accuses of having “lost its collective memory."
Ms. Maroti has found a novel way to inspire the islanders to the ecologically sustainable development of Zakynthos. Her office has spread verses of the great 19th-century poets Dionysios Solomos and Andreas Kalvos, both natives of Zakynthos, that are relevant to the island's ecology. She has also given the community a much-needed history lesson mentioning the lakes, springs, wells and aqueducts on the island, as well as the various torrents and floods that have occurred there.
One of the major factors affecting sustainable development on Zakynthos is a new phenomenon seen all around Europe: people abandoning the mountainous areas and settling in the seaside. This has put a heavy burden on several Greek islands, including Zakynthos.
The EU-funded program INTERREG IIIC assists the various regions of Europe to work together in partnership on common projects, sharing their experience and expertise to develop novel solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges. Some of its programs include development of education, professional expertise, food security and quality, assistance to small and medium enterprises as well as the adoption of biotechnology and nanotechnology in health services.