IOANNINA ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ASSOCIATION
28 October, 6th, P.C. 454 44, Ioannina - tel. (0030) 6972 20 80 32
email: firstname.lastname@example.org: http://www.ecoioannina.gr/
To 1. International Water Ski and Wakeboard Federation & Mr. President, Kuno Ritschard
2. The Administrations and the athletes of the unions and water ski federations of countries involved in the nowadays events in our city
3. To the citizens throughout the world
The philosophy of athletics has always been closely associated with the environment and its protection, because sport and environment as specific concepts, institutions and particularly, values, do constitute mainly the supporting pillars of the global civil society, but also of the perspective of a sustainable development for the present and future generations.
Sport, culture and the environment are the three functional poles of the Olympic Games spirit. With this assumption, the protection of the natural, structural and cultural environment is now a basic requirement and essential parameter, which must be well- ensured during the design and the development of sporting activities.
By formulating some environmentally friendly habits, prospects and attitudes, the ideas & values of sport and olympism are firmly founded.
With the under prot. nr. Φ31 / 4425/212/75 Decision taken by the Ministry of Culture and Science the lake of Ioannina, Pamvotida, and the sourrounded to this area, at a depth of 100 meters from the shore towards the town plan and 300 meters to the other sides, was featured as a historical place of an exceptional natural beauty because it is inextricably linked to historical moments and traditions of the Modern Greek World.
The wetland of Amfithea, to a portion of which currently the water ski and wakeboard racings are held, is a sensitive ecosystem of the lake due to the high significance of the springs and its important habitats & rare species of flora and fauna, as integrated to the system of NATURA 2000 as a Special Protection Area (ΖΕΠ) and Special Area of Conservation (ΕΖΔ) GR2130005.
To this particular part of the wetland and adjacent to the irrigation embankment, the Municipality of Ioannina proceeded during the last year with eradicating the reeds and dredging the seabed to a depth of 2 meters in an area described geometrically with a rectangle, 800 x 80 meters, creating, as stated, a temporary alternative water ski track to be used in case weather conditions could cause water rippling and impede the conduct of the games in the main race track.
The constructional works of the track were made without legal permits, without Environmental Impact Assessment (ΜΠΕ), unsupervised and without being ware, no one knows, what was the cost and with what sources of money this was accomplished. The persons in charge had made an extraction of huge quantities of aggregates from the mountain Mitsikeli, destroying the beauty of its landscape. Inert materials used to create temporary dikes and dredging products remained in the wetland, in order to create roads, and were dispersed to the remaining reeds by destroying it’s purpose.
Multiple provisions of the Greek law and EU directives were violated for which our Association filed a lawsuit against persons in charge, and this is still on regard by the Greek Justice.
The Environmental Inspectors of the Ministry of Environment in their reports had mentioned the abuses and breaches of environmental law and the resulting degradation of the natural environment, as described after the autopsies conducted (prot .nr 305 / 26.03.2014 Certificate of Violation) .
Since year 1966, when in the city the water ski association was founded, for many years in the Lake Pamvotida European Water ski races where conducted with great ease. In the year 1986 to Limnopoula area an excellent track with modern facilities was constructed in and there should have been held all such events.
However, in order to help some people who for their own reasons want the obsolete irrigation embankments to stay where they are in the regions of Anatoli-Katsika and Amfithea, and react strongly to the embankments removal, the construction of the water ski track was arranged in contact with the embankment, supporting the prevalence of the embankments. This followed an action in favor of the prevalence of the embankment by Mr. Prefect Kachrimanis, who is a nominated member (vice president) of the organizing committee of the games. With his prot. nr. 7008/6885/ 06.08.2012 letter to the scholars who compiled the Study in order to design a cycle path around Pamvotida, they were instructed as bicycles passage be on the embankment of Amfithea. We should stress out to this point that the pre-study drawn by the scholars defined the bicycle crossing through the boundaries of the settlement Amfithea and the lake.
These embankments had cut off the communication of the lake with the wetlands (hatching and breeding areas) and the springs of Mitsikeli mountain, which were enriching Pamvotida lake with millions of cubic meters clean water, and turned it into a closed tank with contaminated and dirty water.
It is due to all these imposed, therefore, from now on to remove all obsolete embankments so as the lake can in an unhindered way be connected with the interactive springs and all these wetlands. By doing this, Pamvotida will also restore its self-cleaning ability throughout the wet meadows of the wider region.
Removal of the embankments so that Pamvotida can restart its operation as a lake ecosystem, as did it once, constitutes an old proposal of scientific experts in Lake’s Management Plan and a request from local society of Ioannina dwellers. Any contrary view is hostile to Pamvotida because it creates conditions for possible conversions of wetlands to building landscapes, which condemn the lake forever to be a lake-basin, lifeless and without future.
It is clear from the above mentioned that water skiing track existence in the wetlands of Amfithea, except natural environment degradation, contributes to the embankments prevalence, with all previously mentioned consequences for the lake.
It also proves that such fundamental principles of sport were violated and the destruction of Amfithea’s wetland for water ski track, which deceptively were promoted as "water resources developmental project for protection-maintenance of the ecosystem", constitute a unique event in the world offending the conduct of water ski games events in such an area.
Our Association does not contravene the water ski sport, on the contrary we will be very pleased to establish again such international races in our beautiful lake, to the open water track of Limnopoula and not in the wetlands.
For the Administrative Board
 Prot. Nr. 305 and 306 /26.03.2014, Certificate of Violation, Environmental Inspectors