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Why water pollution should be No 1 environmental priority? Yannis Zabetakis Ass. Professor of Why water pollution should be No 1 environmental priority? Yannis Zabetakis Ass. Professor of Food Chemistry and Lead Auditor University of Athens izabet@chem. uoa. gr http: //environmentfood. blogspot. com/ http: //www. zabetakis. net/

Water The Paraguay River in Villeta, 40 km south of Asuncion, in February 2009: Water The Paraguay River in Villeta, 40 km south of Asuncion, in February 2009: The unusually low level of water forced Paraguayan officials to close the river to navigation. The river, which is navigable all the way out to the Atlantic Ocean past Uruguay and Argentina and is vital to commerce in this land-locked country, is at its lowest level in years and is causing daily losses to the industries that depend on it

…so small… so cute…so liquid n n 60% of our body weight is water …so small… so cute…so liquid n n 60% of our body weight is water with a MW of just 18 With such a low MW, water should be a gas. But thanks to the hydrogen bond water is liquid and thus there is life on Earth! All chemical reactions that keep us alive take place in aqueous solutions Water n n living [plants, bread] and good living [wine]

Waste management Is there any such thing in Greece? n How many illegal landfills Waste management Is there any such thing in Greece? n How many illegal landfills do we have today in Greece? [do we need to ask Mr Dimas? ] n Water is heavily polluted due to this lack of waste management n Situation gets graver due to lack of any proper auditing [e. g. companies certified for ISO 14001 are heavy polluters!] n

Waste management [II] n n n Responsibilities of Environmental and Food Auditors (EYEP and Waste management [II] n n n Responsibilities of Environmental and Food Auditors (EYEP and EFET) ? Responsibilities of greek UKAS (ESYD) and UK UKAS re: ISO 14001 certificates ? Complete lack of proper controls It has been known for 4 years that Asopos is polluted and lots of food [tubers, ie potatoes, carrots and onions] are produced using polluted water… Why Greece overlooks this problem?

TA NEA, 19. 2. 2009, page 15 http: //www. tanea. gr/default. asp? pid=2&ct=1&artid=4503003 TA NEA, 19. 2. 2009, page 15 http: //www. tanea. gr/default. asp? pid=2&ct=1&artid=4503003

Can water kill? Water in Eastern Attica is polluted with Nitrates (NO 3 -), Can water kill? Water in Eastern Attica is polluted with Nitrates (NO 3 -), in Western Attica with …. benzene n Few km further north, in Oinofita, in Avlida and in Thiva, water contains toxic levels of heavy metals n Nickel [Ni] n Chromium [Cr] and Cr(VI) n Barium [Ba] [chemically “similar” to Calcium, Ca] n Iron [Fe] n Cobalt [Co] and n Manganese [Mn] n

Polluted = hazardous food ? Polluted = hazardous food ?

Water pollutants can indeed kill ! 200 dead flamincos in lake Koroneia (September 2007) Water pollutants can indeed kill ! 200 dead flamincos in lake Koroneia (September 2007) n 1. 000 tn dead fish in Amvrakikos gulf (February 2008) n Tens of tones of dead fish in Maliakos gulf (March 2009) n and a continuously rising number of deaths in Oinofita due to cancer (from 6% in 1989, more than 32% today!)… n

How many Hinkleys do we have in Greece? Koronia n Louros n Pinios n How many Hinkleys do we have in Greece? Koronia n Louros n Pinios n Sperxeios n Etc n

Is polluted water visible? No…, in most cases, it is not!. n But, in Is polluted water visible? No…, in most cases, it is not!. n But, in Asopos, it is visible! n

Cr (VI) turns red the river water in Asopos Cr (VI) turns red the river water in Asopos

A wider water picture n n n Water availability has been a A wider water picture n n n Water availability has been a "casus belli" for years. Few years ago, Israel warned of a war over water. Lebanon had opened a pumping station on the River Hasbani in the spring of 2001 to irrigate a droughtstricken village but denied that it planned to dam the river. Israel controlled the Hasbani during its occupation of southern Lebanon in 1978 -2000. Today, the water of this river is completely controlled by Israel. www. news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/middle_east/ 2249599. stm

Water and the food industry The problem of good water management is of pivotal Water and the food industry The problem of good water management is of pivotal importance in both food and agriculture industries and world geopolitics. n According to the bank JPMorgan, five big food and beverage giants - Nestle, Unilever, Coca. Cola, Anheuser-Busch and Danone - consume almost 575 billion litres of water a year, enough to satisfy the daily water needs of every person theplanet on … n www. economist. com/business/ displaystory. cfm? story_id=11966993

Water management n n The concept of water management in Greece is simply non-existent. Water management n n The concept of water management in Greece is simply non-existent. The number of illegal wells is unknown and estimates of boreholes here range from 190, 000 to 270, 000. The best example that highlights this lack of water management is Lake Plastira, in central Greece. n While the water level of the lake is dangerously low, wasteful irrigation techniques in the plain of Thessaly and elsewhere continue unmonitored…

Wells sucking Greece dry, T. Petropoulos in Athens News, 29. 8. 2008 Wells sucking Greece dry, T. Petropoulos in Athens News, 29. 8. 2008

The link between food and water n n n It takes about one litre The link between food and water n n n It takes about one litre of water to produce one calorie from food crops. n But the biggest variable is our diet. Europeans and Americans have for years had high proportions of meat in their diets. n now this trend is catching on in emerging markets as incomes rise. Meat requires 10 times the water withdrawn per calorie by plants, so the average daily diet in California requires some 6, 000 litres of water in agriculture, compared with 3, 000 litres in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt.

n Compare these figures to the three or four litres we drink daily or n Compare these figures to the three or four litres we drink daily or the 300 -600 litres of water needed for other purposes, such as hygiene and manufacturing. n Unfortunately, politicians have added another drain - biofuels. n It takes up to 9, 100 litres of water to grow the soy needed for one litre of biodiesel. n What is meant to alleviate a serious environmental problem (climate change) is making another, even more serious problem (water shortage) worse.

crop water productivity crop production (kg) related to the volume (m 3) of water crop water productivity crop production (kg) related to the volume (m 3) of water n This data is derived from irrigation experiments conducted in several parts of the country on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture (see table, the data are representative and refer to “good” years, i. e. in seasons when the best crop production was obtained). (Karamanos A, et al, 2005. 4 th Workshop on Water Saving in Mediterranean Agriculture. Series B: Studies and Research, 57: 92).

Crop Production Water (m 3) for actual (kg / ha) evapotranspiration – ETc (m Crop Production Water (m 3) for actual (kg / ha) evapotranspiration – ETc (m 3 / ha) Crop water productivity (kg / m 3) Maize 12, 000 4, 980 2. 41 Cotton (not 3, 550 ginned) Industrial 97, 000 tomato 4, 500 0. 79 3, 900 24. 87 Water. Melons 43, 000 3, 570 12. 04 Vines 14, 800 1, 850 8, 00 Potatoes 30, 000 4, 800 6. 25 Karamanos A, et al, 2005. 4 th Workshop on Water Saving in Mediterranean Agriculture. Series B: Studies and Research, 57: 92).

Plant Metal Thiva measurements Maximum Int. level Carrot Cr 77+15 μg/kg 80 μg/kg Ni Plant Metal Thiva measurements Maximum Int. level Carrot Cr 77+15 μg/kg 80 μg/kg Ni 595+71, 0 μg/kg 160 μg/kg Cr 22+6, 9 μg/kg 190 μg/kg Ni 550+41, 0 μg/kg 420 μg/kg Onion Data from University of Athens published in Athens News, 20. 3. 2009

Would you eat a nickel-carrot; Would you eat a nickel-carrot;

Globally> urgent solutions needed n Use better irrigation practices in farming n n n Globally> urgent solutions needed n Use better irrigation practices in farming n n n Some crops are better grown in water-rich countries, while others grow well with relatively little water. If water had a price and if farm products could be traded freely and without subsidies across borders, a waterefficient allocation of production would follow. Stop political subsidies for biofuels until more water-efficient crops are established (ie the so-called second- and thirdgeneration plants). Leading food industries must start using water more efficiently soft-drink giants are using about three litres of water for every litre of soft drink they produce, but one Greek branch in Asopos is using double this (ie six litres of water per litre of soft drink). We need a "water new deal" as soon as possible. The climate change should stop being the first environmental priority.

And locally> Food controls within EU n Polluted rivers and polutted water beds are And locally> Food controls within EU n Polluted rivers and polutted water beds are used to produce food… n Greek state control authorities do not intervene… Why? Until when? n Should EU control mechanisms overrule member state authorities? Producing food [tubers] that reaches all member states n n RASFF…public database on food safety Should EU citizens know about this? Should stricter controls of water/food be carried out?