2099 – The waste and litter problem on Mount Athos

dumping ground

In 2014,  very close to the monastery of Filotheou , waste and rubbish are still dumped in the valley. I don’t know if that is still common practice. I hope not.

car wreck

On the path from Pantocratoros to Vatopedi  in  2019 we suddenly encountered this car wreck. The dirt road was not that far so they have pushed the “deceased” truck on the old path leaving it there to rust.

Garbage location at the top!

Burning the garbage, as pilgrims do, on the top of the Holy Mountain is a very bad idea. My brother Wim made this picture  when he climbed the Mountain in 2019.  Don’t burn garbage, take it back down.

the burnt ground after the 2012 fire

A huge fire in 2012 burned at least one sixth of the peninsula ’s surface.

beach close to Vatopedi

The plastic that is polluting and disfiguring the Athos beaches is also a disgrace.  Burning it is not the solution, the possibility that sparks will ignite bushfires is very much apparent.

Garbage truck

A positive development is that I saw a garbage truck in front of the entrance of Sk. Profitou Eliou, also in 2109,  collecting the waste of the skiti. So our appeal is: “bring back your garbage to the place where you will spend the night”. It will be collected by these garbage trucks.

garbage station

The waste is  brought to a special garbage disposal station near Dafni along the road to Karyes. Here a truck is getting rid of his load.

So what can we do about the waste problem on Mount Athos?
Always bring your waste back to the monasteries, don’t ever litter. Clean the beaches by taking plastic and other garbage in your backpack.

What can we do about this?

A monk from Simonos Petras , also very concerned  about the increasing pollution on Mount Athos,  asked us to give everyone this message, please spread the word on your Athos related websites, blogs and social media:

Please be aware:

You enter the Garden of the Holy Virgin.

If you litter waste on the Holy Mountain, it is an offence to Her. 

Help to keep Her garden clean and bring your waste to a place where it will be collected in a proper way.

Herman Voogd, Wim Voogd, Bas Kamps

In response to the comment of Vasilis: this is what is washed up by strong winds in the harbour of Prodromou. almost halve a meter with plastic waste – styrofoam – from fishing boats. Wim Voogd, 28-1
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9 Responses to 2099 – The waste and litter problem on Mount Athos

  1. Grainne Conroy says:

    A sobering reminder of how humans fail to care for the Creator’s creation. This is a welcome initiative and should be taken up by Monastic communities as a truly ecumenical witness. God bless and thank you for your prayer and faithfulness.

  2. Gerard Koolschijn says:

    Horrible. Worldwide. We are living the apocalypse. And hardly anybody cares.

  3. Japetus says:

    Thank you admins for bringing this issue up and your sensitivity on the matter..

  4. Alex says:

    What about the wastewater that is discharged directly into the sea?

  5. Joseph Skinner says:

    I’m afraid the waste problem near Philotheou was still much in evidence a couple of years ago. Very sad to see that. In general, the problem seems to be worse on the NE side of the Holy Mountain.

  6. Vasílis says:

    Monks also told me that a lot of junk and plastic washes up in strong winds, that it comes from the sea, from the Greek mainland….

  7. baskamps says:

    Someone should take the initiative to clean the beaches. The successful FOMA-initiative to clear the ancient paths on the Holy Mountain could be an excellent example.

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