EcoPest is a pilot-scale demonstration project based in the Kopaida region, about 70km north-west of Athens. Its aim is to protect the area’s vulnerable inland water ecosystem from pollution caused by the excessive use of pesticides. EcoPest is funded by the European Commission within the framework of the Life+ Environment Policy and Governance Program. EcoPest is also supported by the Hellenic Ministries of Rural Development & Food, and Environment, Energy & Climatic Change.
The Project area is located in the Viotikos-Kifissos basin. This is one of the most productive plains of Greece, and an area in which intensive agricultural practices are followed. The abundance of water reserves in the basin and the intensiveness of the agricultural activities make this agro-ecosystem extremely vulnerable to pollution by pesticides. The region also has wider socio-economic importance. The basin drains into Lake Yliki, one of the main reservoirs for drinking water for Attiki. Attiki is the largest prefecture in Greece, with a population of about 5 million inhabitants.
The purpose of EcoPest is to develop, apply and demonstrate an economically-viable Strategic Plan for the sustainable use of pesticides and fertilizers in the area. This will happen through the minimization of agricultural inputs and the effective management of related risks. Ultimately, the Project aims at submitting practical proposals to the responsible regulatory bodies, making the Project’s deliverables directly applicable to both existing requirements and future legislation.
The Project is being applied on a pilot scale in an area of 900 ha of agricultural land, within the Viotikos-Kifissos basin and adjacent to Viotikos-Kifissos River and Lake Yliki. The area is cultivated with crops such as cotton, maize, and plum tomatoes. More than 200 farmers are participating in the Project.
Key aspects of EcoPest:
The establishment of a decision-making system for the rational use of pesticides
The identification and management of those fundamental parameters which contribute to high-risk situations for users and the environment during agricultural activities
The monitoring of environmental quality, and the definition of critical indicators for overall risk assessment
The training of local stakeholders (pesticide retailers, distributors, professional sprayers, farmers and advisers) on the sustainable use of pesticides
The submission of viable proposals to national authorities concerned with environmental and agricultural policy, in order to integrate EcoPest’s results into future legislation.
Duration: 2.5 years (1/1/2009 to 31/3/2012)
Budget: 1,645,154 € EC Contribution: 822,577€