Coalition allies push for action on wood smog

As health experts intensified warnings of the risks posed by the increased use of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves by Greeks struggling to reduce heating bills, the two junior parties in the coalition government called for action to enable households to start using heating oil again.

The parties’ proposals came amid rising concern about thick smog in Athens and Thessaloniki, which experts blame on the growing practice of burning wood to heat homes.

Socialist PASOK suggested that an “automatic and full rebate” of the special consumption tax on heating oil would help curb the trend of wood burning and reduce the smog. “The inability of citizens to procure heating oil and the unchecked use of biomass as fuel, which has led to great environmental problems, call for a revision of the system of distributing and taxing heating oil,” PASOK spokeswoman Fofi Gennimata said in a statement on Friday.

Democratic Left, for its part, issued a series of suggestions for reducing the smog and making heating oil more accessible. These include conducting a public awareness campaign of the health risks of increased air pollution and making more households eligible for a state subsidy for heating oil.