Blue Planet Project campaigner Meera Karunananthan has met with EYATH officials in Thessaloniki, Greece and presented them with a certificate that recognizes them as a blue community ambassador.
EYATH is the public water utility that provides drinking water to Thessaloniki, a city with a population of about 790,000 people.
Greece has been on the front lines of resistance to water privatization imposed by European and international institutions. A citizens mobilization and a ruling by the Greek Supreme Court in 2014 blocked an austerity-drive push to privatize EYATH and EYDAP, the Athens water utility. But just recently, the Greek parliament passed a piece of legislation that, among other measures, approved the privatization of these two public water companies. We join with our Greek allies to say that the aim of these water utilities should be to provide clean water and guarantee sewage treatment, not generate profits to pay creditors.
The blue communities initiative recognizes that imperative through its three core principles: recognition of the rights to water and sanitation, opposition to bottled water, and the promotion of publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services. A blue community can be a municipality, association, religious grouping, university, First Nation, or union.
Thessaloniki is now poised to become a blue community on November 28.
There are also plans in the works now for EYATH blue community ambassadors to work on getting all eleven municipalities that surround Thessaloniki, which are also serviced by EYATH, to become blue communities.
The ambassadors are also talking about connecting with other Greek water utilities to become blue community ambassadors, contacting water justice activists in Athens, and approaching the Greek Archdiocese to become a blue community.
The Blue Planet Project gratefully acknowledges the work of our friend and ally Yiorgos Archontopoulos and SOSte To Nero (Save Water) in moving the blue communities project forward in Thessaloniki.
The Blue Planet Project first expressed its solidarity against the proposed privatization of EYATH in March 2012.