The Environmental Quality Observatory of Syros (EQOS) was founded in July 2020. The reason behind the establishment of the union was the concern of the residents of Syros, as expressed on social media, about the frequent pollution phenomena on the sea surface of the port, the dust cloud that often hovered over the wider area of the shipyard, the dust that we collected from our balconies but also in the intense noise pollution on a twenty-four hour basis.
In February 2020, Kathimerini newspaper published the sampling results of Aegean Rebreath, which detected the presence of toxic heavy metals in the port of Ermoupolis, in the Carnagio area. The local community was even more upset. In the same month, the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Syros Ermoupolis, in an eventful meeting, decided to set up an inter-parliamentary monitoring committee in order to carry out a thorough study in collaboration with ELKETHE, which had already submitted a complete proposal – offer for a study in the port, in order to verify in the most appropriate scientific way whether there is pollution and, if so, how it has been caused.
At the same time, on the initiative of MP Kritonas Arsenis, the findings of the analysis of the Aegean Rebreath sample by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (ELKETHE) were discussed in Parliament and the then Deputy Minister of Environment D. Economou pledged to conduct a more extensive investigation at the initiative of the State in order to “draw safer conclusions and take the necessary measures”.
In November 2020, and while no initiative has been taken to conduct the study, the PPPS asks the Municipality and the Region what, finally, happened to the announced study, without ever getting a substantive answer. In December 2020, the PPPS sent a relevant question to the Minister of Environment, trying to pressure the authorities to do what they had, themselves, announced. Shortly after this question, which like our previous documents were published on our union’s Facebook page, we received the first lawsuit from the ONEX group of companies, which manage the shipyard, claiming a compensation of € 1,000,000 for defamation, lost profits and moral damage from our union.
After the first lawsuit and while the local media refused to publish the relevant Press Releases that we sent to them, the issue gets publicity from nationwide media. In this context, one of our members held a radio interview to make public the first lawsuit against us, to accept itself a new lawsuit amounting to another € 1,000,000, while then the President of the EQOS held a radio interview to make public the two lawsuits against us, as a result of which he accepted a new, third lawsuit against himself again amounting to € 1,000,000. In total, the ONEX companies so far are claiming compensation of over € 3,000,000 from EQOS and its members.
Today, more than 1,5 year after the first announcement of the investigation, and 6 months after the announcement of the Mayor of Syros – Ermoupolis and the Deputy Regional Governor of Cyclades for concluding a program contract between the Region, the Port Fund and the Technical University of Crete to contact the research in the port of Ermoupolis, which would be financed, as announced, by ONEX, the company that is prosecuting us because we asked for the research to be carried out, no progress whatsoever has been made.
Several articles have been published in Greek by numerous nationwide Media (e.g. Efimerida Syntakton, Avgi, The Press Project, TVXS, Kosmodromio, ΤPP, Infowar) while a thorough report was published by Liberation, after an onsite reportage.
See the latest developments here.
The three lawsuits are planned to be tried on Friday, 10 December 2021.
Some indicative photos: