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NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS. The management and protection of the environment through teaching and research at the University of Athens by Maria Economou-Eliopoulos, Prof. Teaching at the Athens University. Since the decate of 80’s

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The management and protection of the environment through teaching and research at the University of Athens


Maria Economou-Eliopoulos, Prof.

Teaching at the Athens University

Since the decate of 80’s

a few teaching subjects related to the management and protection of the enviroment are included in the Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes of the:

• LawSchool

• Medical School,

• Pharmacology,

• Depatment of Chemistry,

• Department of Biology,

• Department of Physics,

• Department of Geology and others

Since the beginning of the new century 21 several Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes in the Athens University were re-formulated, in the frame of the EPEAEK II Project (Co-funded by EU

(75%) and National Resource):


New courses are offered to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes:

•The Environmental Law,

• European Environmental Law

• International Environmental Law

Medical School

Medical science is the final recipient of the influence of environmental effects on human and asked to explain and to answer the basic question:

What is the relationship between environment and health?

In which way our cells and DNA are affected by the environment?

There is a MSc course entitled: Environment and Health,

that is supported by European Programs ASPIS AREHNA (

Pharmacology, Medical School

The Department of Pharmacology has established an undergraduate course entitled Environmental Pharmacology

combining the environmental pollution with its impact on human health, since 70’s.

Department of Chemistry

An Environmental Chemistry Laboratory

has been established.

It is used for the practice of students on environmental topics, and research work in the frame of joint projects in Greece and other countries (Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, the European Environmental Bureau, UNESCO-UNECE etc.)

Department of Biology

The courses of Botany, Zoology, Marine Biology with education and research activities have focused on the plant biodiversity in the protected areas (NATURA 2000 in the European Union network) in Greece and Cyprus.

The Department of Geology has been re-named to Department of Geology & Geoenvironment

The undergraduate program, includes the courses:

•Environmental Geology, •Applied Geochemistry• Global Changes, •Marine Geology, •Atmospheric Environment Pollution, etc

Department of Geology & GeoenvironmentPostgraduate courses (MSc level)related to the environment

• Oceanography

• Prevention and management of natural disaster

• Applied Environmental Geology


Oceanography is a joint cource between

Departments of Biology, Geology & Geoenvironment, Physics and Chemistry (Faculty of Sciences, University of Athens), aiming the management and protection of the Marine Environment.

•Prevention and management of natural disaster

This is a joint cource between the Department of Geology & Geoevironment and the Technological Education Institute of Serres (Greece).

The subject of the course refers to natural catastrophic events, their environmental impact, evolution, protection and management.

• Applied Environmental Geology

Major topics include potential pollutants, either by natural processes or human activities, management of primary raw material, global changes and the application of geochemical and geophysical techniques to the protection and remediation of contaminated soil and water.(

Research at the Athens University

Young researchers are involved into hundreds of National and International projects related to environmental subjects,

funded by EU/R & D, EU/BRITEEURAM, EU/EPEAEK II- Postgraduate, EU/EPEAEK II–Pythagoras, EU/EPEAEK II–Hrakleitos, Kapodistrias-AthensUniversity,Greek Secretariat of Research and Technology etc,

in order to gainnewknowledge and be able to offer to the environment protection.

An example of heavy metal contaminationat theAssopos-Thiva basin and Evia in Greece:

Are characterized by high Cr and Mg contents are major source of Cr(VI), by natural processes.

More than 700 industrial units, are source of Cr(VI).

Cr(III) is essential in human physiology, but Cr(VI) is mobile and extremely toxic.

Cr(VI) Cr(III)

Field practice of postgraduate students

Laboratory practice of postgraduate students includes

•Determination of Cr(VI) and other toxic metal in the collected soil, water and plant samples.

•Determination of metal bio-availability andbio-accumulation.

•The % Cr in soil transferred intoplants (carrots, potatoes and onions).

Concentrations of Cr in groundwater exceed the limit for totalchromium (50 ppb or g/l).

Cr total Cr(VI)


Laboratory practice on the bio-remediation of water using bacteria: Cr(VI) Cr(III)

Transfer factor or % of soil chromium into plants.

Since the environmental impact by human activities and natural processes is widespread, including European countries,the case of the contamination at the Assopos-Thiva basin by Cr(VI) is not a local environmental problem.

The Universities could plan projects to study and provide ways

to restrict the transfer of heavy metals from soil to plants/crops and grounwater without the reduction of the agricultural and industrial production.

Thank you

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