Sunday, 13 April 2014

Visit to Lake Koumoundourou by Seniors

Visit to lake Koumoundourou
Click here to watch a video from the visit

«DROP OFF PERSEPHONE» (Koumoundourou Lake)
An article by Despoina Moisidou (Teacher of ICT- member of OIKOPOLIS Association)
and translated  by Theodoris Orinos ( member of Savic)

Lake's name and its meaning
Today’s name is Koumoundourou Lake. This name is coming from the family name of Alexander Koumoundouros, ten times Prime Minister in the second half of the 19th century.
This lake is one of  two lakes of the area(the second one was dried in the 1950 decade), formed artificially in ancient times, when the ancient “Iera Odos” blocked the water flow from the nearby existing springs seawards. “Iera Odos” means Holy Road, and it was the ancient road from Athena to Eleusis, from which the Eleusinian cortege was passing through (parts of this ancient road have been brought to light, after the excavation works for the METRO railroad construction). The two artificial lakes were called, at that time, Reiton Lakes, and they were gathering water from the adjacent group of ancient fountains, in the west edge of Aegaleo mountain.
Another ancient name was Katharmon Lake (the Greek word “Katharmos” means expiation). That name was given because of the ancient inhabitants’ beliefs, who believed that the lake’s water was “infernal”, coming from the underworld, and thus the lake was considered as a holy one, dedicated to Persephone (and to Demeter, the one that is dried now). In Greek mythology, Persephone (or “Kore” –that means daughter), was the daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter, and she was the queen of the underworld.
Geographical information :
As mentioned before, the studied lake is an artificial one, and collects the water from fountains in the surrounding area. It is virtually a lagoon, as it is very close to the sea and stands a little bit over the sea level (1 m higher). In ancient times it was formed by the water flow blockage by the ancient “Iera odos” while nowadays the Athens - Corinth National Road separates it from the sea, in the North-East edge of the gulf of Eleusis.
The Lake distance from the center of Athens (Syntagma square) is approximately 15 Km to West - North West.  Google maps’ coordinates:   38.023945, 23.600858.
The lake’s surface is 143.225 m2. Its depth is less than 1,5 m, except in a small area, around the undersurface fountains, where its depth is 2,8 m approximately. The lake’s coastline is 1,3 Km approximately.

Biological and scientifical characteristics

As the lake is very close (almost in touch)   to the sea, its water is sub-saline. Old fishermen, lived in the area around the lake, described it as a very clear lake, with continuously renewed clear waters containing large populations of fish, mainly grey mullets, basses, eels etc. But these descriptions are quoted only for the period before 1950’s, decade when the surrounding the lake area became an industrial one.
Since then the small ecosystem became fragile. The quality of the lake’s water is not so much degraded but there are problems with the sediment, which toxicity is due to chemicals and petroleum products as well as drainage from scrap heap. The sediment is also plenty of degraded organic matter. The O2 concentration diminish and the acidity increases. Toxic H2S and NH3 leading to death of lots of fish. Pollutants from the sediment enter the food chain through aquatic plants rooted in it.
But the lake ecosystem is resisting!
In the coastline there are reeds, sedges etc. and a small eucalyptus forest. There are fish, mainly grey mullets   and a lot of birds like seagulls, Eurasian Coots, Ardeidae & Egretta, swans in some cases etc.

Social and cultural aspects

Koumoundourou Lake is a small and polluted lake in South Attica, near an industrial area but it is a Lake, something seldom for Attica environment.
It was a place of historical as well as archaeological importance. After 1974 the area has been characterized as an archaeological site.
It has also been characterized as an urban park and inhabitants from the surrounding areas started taking it into account and trying for its sustainable development. So far, it’s a long way to its ecosystem preservation but… there is progress!
Schools from the surroundings started to implement educational projects concerning the lake’s history, mainly and also biochemical properties (in as many cases as it is feasible –it is usually difficult for young students of lower secondary education –Gymnasium– schools).
Translation by Thedoris Orinos

No comments:

Post a Comment