Efforts got under way on Wednesday to collect thousands of tons of trash that have accumulated on the streets of Attica as the capital’s main landfill in Fyli in northwestern Athens was expanded to accommodate the new piles of garbage.
Municipal garbage trucks transporting the rubbish from Athens neighborhoods formed long lines in front of the landfill’s entrance on the first day of the cleanup.
Some 20,000 tons of garbage has accumulated across the capital’s 66 municipalities since the discovery of a crack in the Fyli facility early last week.
Days of heavy rainfall caused the rubbish to spread beyond dumpsters and into streets, blocking drains in some areas, with high temperatures causing the mounds to fester and stink.
Local officials estimated, however, that the situation will quickly improve. Afroditi Biza, the vice president of the local government body responsible for waste management (EDSNA), said that Wednesday was the first day since the discovery of the crack that the landfill had operated at normal capacity.
EDSNA units have been instructed to prioritize cleaning up the capital’s popular tourist areas – Plaka, Psyrri, Kolonaki, Exarchia. “This is the heart of Athens for tourists and the face of the capital,” said Giorgos Broulias, deputy mayor for sanitation. Next on the list are densely populated areas such as Kypseli and Patissia.
EDSNA staff have also been told to start emptying the capital’s four recycling collection points. The Fyli landfill has been expanded multiple times over the years as Athens has failed to set up an effective waste management system.