Risks of lead contamination in the Lesbos camp: Athens accused of minimizing the danger

Since Mória camp caught fire last September, at least 7,517 asylum seekers had to move to the Kara Tepe-Mavrovouni temporary camp on the island of Lesbos. Hastily built on a former military base, this camp is raising serious concerns about the risk of lead exposure.

Under pressure from humanitarian organizations present on the site, the government had to carry out analyzes on the soil of Kara Tepe camp last November, a report of which it released on January 27. This last confirms the presence of high lead levels in certain areas, in particular at the level of a former shooting range of 21,000 square meters, on which had first been installed camps, now withdrawn.

Thresholds largely exceeded

Selon Human Rights Watch (HRW), the government tends to “minimize»The risk of lead contamination, and the NGO asks that more in-depth tests be carried out in different places.

Of the twelve soil samples whose test results have been published, one revealed the presence of 2,233 milligrams of lead per kilogram. However, in Greece, the normal limit for residential areas is 500 milligrams per kilogram.

According to the government, this sample was taken in an area “administrativeDedicated to humanitarian workers, and would therefore not present any significant risk, as it does not concern a residential area. The authorities said a series of measures would be taken to mitigate the risks of contamination, including the addition of new soil.

NGOs call for emergency measures

These statements are insufficient for Human Rights Watch, which notes that several asylum seekers have to queue at the former firing range in order to access NGO services. HRW maintains that residents should be informed of the health risks associated with exposure to lead.

“The testing and transparency measures are incredibly important and go in the right direction. That said, we are deeply concerned that the government is undermining this transparency by distorting what the results show, and that it is failing to warn camp residents and aid workers of the risks they continue to run in the city. camp”, said Belki’s will, researcher in the Crises and Conflicts Department of Human Rights Watch.

The Kara Tepe camp also has more than 2,550 children, several of whom have been seen playing across the site. While the acceptable threshold for lead in Greek playgrounds is 100 milligrams per kilogram, the NGO is asking that tests be carried out urgently on the entire camp.

For Belkis Wille, the European Commission, which has provided significant financial assistance to the Lesvos camp, should put pressure on the Greek authorities so that they really take up the problem.

Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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