Civilisation-Environment Management and Training. Ios Island

Civilisation-Environment Management and Training. Ios Island

The restoration and upgrading of the closed rubbish tip was the driving force for the improvement of waste management conditions, and of the construction of a theatre that its hold play a central role in the cultural network of the Ios Island

Starting situation

In 1991, the Greek Government Minister of the Aegean Mrs. E. Papazoi, visited the isle of Ios. As the Mayor of Ios Mr. G. Poussaios was taking her on a tour of the island, they stopped at the locality of Tsoukalaria, at a distance of 100 m. from the town, enchanted by the stunning view towards the endless blue of the Aegean Sea. However, they were also disappointed by the sight of an overflowing waste-disposal site nearby. This site had stopped receiving waste since the 1980s, though no rehabilitation work has been undertaken.

The locality of "Tsoukalaria" was until the 1980s a waste-disposal site for the local inhabitants and for the many tourists that visit the island in the summer (2,000 permanent residents in the winter, 15,000 in the summer). The local people carried the waste to the location on their donkeys. No provision was in place for its burial in accordance with proper sanitary measures. The tip was then abandoned, and the wind helped disperse the rubbish throughout the surrounding area - which became heavily downgraded.

They envisioned the creation at that spot of an open-air theatre on the ancient Greek model, constructed out of local stone and marble, and offering an incomparable view towards the sea. It would be a cultural oasis for Ios, where some scholars believe that Homer was born, but also for the entire country.


Concurrently, the Environment Dept. of the University of the Aegean requested (a request approved by the Greek Environment Ministry) the creation of a programme for the restoration of some (out of  5,000) waste-disposal locations throughout Greece. The restoration is effected by using Mediterranean-type plants adapted to the local arid ecosystem conditions, achieving savings in water and other external agents (fertilisers, pesticides).

The local people and local schools contributed to the efforts of the Municipality of Ios and the University of the Aegean for the construction of the theatre and the upgrading of the area.

Work commenced at the beginning of the year 1996. The theatre was constructed out of stone and white marble (abundant in this area) by local artisans, experienced in the use and processing of such materials. The University of the Aegean, along with the Municipality of Ios, which is active in the restoration, upgrading and monitoring of waste-disposal tips in Greece, including Ios, selected suitable types of vegetation for planting and was able to secure resources from the Environment Ministry.

The plans of the Municipality of Ios for this specific area proved very popular with the inhabitants and schoolchildren of the island who helped in their attainment, via environment training lessons on the part of the students and manual labour on the part of the residents


The Municipality of Ios focused on the restoration and upgrading of the area through the construction of the open-air theatre and the integration of the cultural attributes, offering a different form of leisure activity to the residents and summer tourists.

For the University of the Aegean, the main priorities comprised the proper management, restoration, upgrading and alternative utilisation of the grounds of the rubbish tip, the recording and use of Greek flora deemed most suitable for planting there, and the monitoring of toxic agents usually found at such sites.

The schools and local residents focused on removing the rubbish dispersed around the area, on planting, and on maintaining the new vegetation.


One of the main objectives of the design and construction of the theatre was that its hold play a central role in the cultural network of the island and of the Aegean in general. Along with the traditional town, the windmills, the small chapels, the Archaeological Museum and the impending creation of a Museum of Modern Art and a Museum of Byzantine Icons, they would form a unique combination, rendering Ios one of the main cultural centres of the Aegean.

The restoration and upgrading of the closed rubbish tip was the driving force for the improvement of waste management conditions, towards limiting environmental problems (protection from the impact of such sites) and towards creating the conditions for its environmental restoration by saving on natural resources (water) and high-cost external agents.

The Greek Environment Ministry supported the Municipality of Ios and the University of the Aegean in their efforts.


Mr. George Poussaios, Mayor of Ios.

Professor N.S. Margaris, University of the Aegean. Environment Dep.

Date: 2014-03-13

State: Strategic alliances and public-private participation

Country: Greece

Category: Urban Planning, Sustainability and environment, Employment and Economic Development