2233 – the Future of Athos? Avaton water: a company sells the water from a spring of Simonospetras

The founder of this new enterprise, that will be run in the near future is by a Macedonian bottle company from Thessaloniki, Dimitris Babakos from Cyprus, was during a stay at Simonospetras monastery inspired “to craft and create a superior brand; he would care for this pure water and share it with the world”. In return, he would help the monastery fund and support its activities as well as other charitable causes. The new product was called AVATON (the “constitution” of Athos, where he prohibition on women entering Athos is defined).

The water comes from a artisian spring above the monastery and they build new facility above the monastery. Confined groundwater comes up “in a remote rocky outcrop, has been frozen in time after hundreds of years of isolation, protecting the purity of the land and its natural spring, keeping it fresh and unobstructed by the modern world. The best water is the purest, closest to nature, untouched by industrialisation or mankind.”

The new water facility, build in 2021

On the picture above you can see the large area that was cleared to make the new factory. In the pictures below inside the factory you see the large industrial scale.

The Avaton products: at the moment the production did not start yet

To be honest this new development raised some questions and concerns with me.

Do we really need this kind of large scale commercial enterprizes, who build large computer controlled industrial facilities, on the Holy Mountain? What is impact on the pristine nature (Athos belongs to “Natura 2000”!): were do they find the energy needed to run such a large complex? I do not hope they use large (diesel) generators, and what would be the effect on nature on the additional tranport of goods by trucks and boats?

And take a look at the area they needed, a large part of the mountain somewhere above the monstary is completely cleared to build the factory! What will happen to Athos if KEDAK will allow this at other places in the future? How is it possible – to begin with – that KEDAK even authorized such a project? Isn’t Athos a protected Unesco herritage, where these kind of of changes are not allowed? And finally, do we really need Athos water in a PET-bottle? What is impact on more plactic bottles on the environment? And shouldn’t the monastery just use their spring for themselve?

Allowing this type of companies on Athos could well be a very dangerous development, the question is whether this is desirable or necessary.

Wim Voogd, 20-2-2022

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