Keratea running out of time for Plan B on landfill

A meeting on Wednesday between Environment Minister Tina Birbili and representatives from Keratea, the village southeast of Athens that has been resisting plans for the construction of a large landfill, failed to yield any results as the local officials were not able to present a detailed alternative scheme.

Birbili had agreed to a second meeting with the Keratea residents after they said they had come up with a plan to build a waste management center within an already existing light industrial park rather than near to the Ovriokastro archaeological site, as the government plans to.

However, sources said that Mayor Costas Levantis and his team were unable to provide details about the type of machinery and equipment they would use if the municipality built the facility.

Levantis insisted that this had not led to a breakdown in talks. He pledged that a final proposal would be made within the next 10 days. ?The dialogue will continue,? he told journalists. ?They have simply asked us for some technical details, which we will have soon.?

Birbili stressed that after a six-month standoff in Keratea, no more time could be wasted as Greece risks losing European Union funding for the project.

Meanwhile, the Council of State began hearing appeals by residents of Keratea and Grammatiko, northeast of Athens, where the government plans to build two waste management centers for Attica?s trash, against the construction of the facilities.

Hundreds of residents from both villages gathered at the country?s highest administrative court as their legal teams argued that the projects would lead to damage to the environment and cultural heritage of both areas.

On its part, the state set out the details of what the waste management center would entail. Covering an area of 54 hectares, it would include a facility where recyclable materials can be separated from other trash, a 40,000-ton composting unit, another unit to process up to 127,500 tons of general waste and an area that would be used as a landfill.

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