Some of Greece’s most valuable and treasured assets, the coastline and beaches, are disappearing slowly with severe erosion chipping away year by year, centimeter by centimeter, inch by inch, two new studies have found.
The first, conducted by the University of Athens (UoA), refers to a 14-kilometer (8.7 mile) stretch at Xylokastro, Melissi, Sykies and Kamari in Corinth, where on average 18 centimeters (7.083 inches of coastline are lost every year due to geological factors in the area, Kathimerini said in a report on the findings.
But conditions are worse in some areas with erosion reaching up to 70 centimeters (27.56 inches), more than two feet, putting beachfront properties and those on the coast at risk and posing a threat to jobs.
“This is an extreme case in relation to the rest of Greece, which is why it is of such scientific interest,” Assistant Professor Emmanuel Vassilakis, who heads the UoA research team told the paper.
The problem is especially acute in Sykies and Melissi, he said, where “the coastline has been receding at an alarming rate since 1987 and the phenomenon has become increasingly apparent even to the naked eye.”
He added that, “The destruction of infrastructure and structures is also due to the fact that the area has been developed over the decades along the coastline without any planning for its protection,” a common practice in Greece where there’s little regard for the environment and unlawful building is done everywhere with little risk of being caught or fined.
The University of the Aegean warned of an “economic death” as a result of coastal erosion at certain beaches on six islands that will have lost 50 percent of their surface area by 2050, including Kamari on famed Santorini as well as Eresos and Tsamakia on Lesbos, Kataraktis and Aghia Ermioni on Chios, Masouri on Kalymnos, and parts of Halki and Agathonisi.