So far, little has been done to solve a problem which dates back to the 70’s, and has resulted to the dramatic degradation of the area. This progressive environmental crime grows daily, despite the fact that many convictions for building and health violations have been filed against Creta Farm. These convictions are not followed through while the majority of fines remain unpaid or deleted from the records. This enables Creta Farm’s businessmen to continue their work undaunted and in doing so putting public health and the environment in danger.
In this way, Creta farm are utilising the justice system to ensure that anyone who opposes the environmental crime they are committing is silenced, without respecting the sanctions and paying the fines placed upon them by the same system.
This has particularly been the case during the last year – after the publication of research undertaken by Archipelagos in collaboration with the Laboratory of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry of the National Technical University of Athens, in Latzima area, Crete. Creta Farm has issued successive complaints and lawsuits in a relentless hunt against all who brought the problem to the public eye.
Creta Farm have been implementing “terrorist” tactics against anyone that takes interest and tries to report the problem, including cultural and environmental associations of the area, Professor Liodakis and even journalists.
In the case of Professor Liodakis, Creta Farm is trying to stop any further investigation by demanding the disciplinary prosecution of the National Technical University of Athens for reasons unconnected with the case (e.g. for alleged failure to exercise his academic duties) which constitutes a clear violation of basic principles of university asylum (freedom of research & teaching).
In the autumn of 2009, after complaints were received from local residents and institutions, as well as Archipelagos’ Observatory group in Rethymnon, regarding extensive visible pollution in the area of Latzima, members of the marine research team of Archipelagos carried out a survey of the area.
The investigation was carried out under difficult conditions and it involved coastal zone observations and diving in steep locations. During the research, waste run off was located overflowing through the limestone rocks, ending up in the sea. Furthermore, the suffocating stench from the effluent originating from the farms further confirmed the initial suspicions about the source of the pollution.
Following analysis of water samples taken from wells and boreholes, which was carried out at the Laboratory of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry of the NTU, in addition to microbiological tests of seawater samples carried out at Archipelagos’ laboratory, higher than the legal limits of bacteria were detected, clearly indicating the extent of the problem.
It has become obvious that as long as the legislation is not applied, Creta Farm will continue to threaten every one who stands up to them, until they suppress any opposition, while at the same time continuing to develop their business in complete disharmony with nature and man.
Archipelagos will continue to closely monitor the situation, conducting further research on the subject, while at the same time keeping the local community of Rethymno, as well as the general public, informed of any developments. Furthermore, we expect the relevant public services to apply the appropriate laws and control mechanisms and act in accordance to public and environmental welfare.
Finally, we state that, in addition to exercising all our legal rights, we are determined to activate an international communication network of Archipelagos, in order to inform the European and the international public opinion of this issue.