Greece faces more than 70,000 euro daily fine over illegal dumps

The European Commission said Thursday it is taking Greece back to the European Court of Justice for failing to implement an earlier ruling on illegal landfills.

“In 2005, the Court ruled that Greece was not taking sufficient measures to close down and rehabilitate illegal landfills,” the Commission said in a statement noting that several hundred illegal waste dumps are still operating across the country.

“Eight years later, in view of insufficient progress since the ruling, the Commission is referring the case back to Court,” it said.

The Commission is suggesting a daily penalty payment of 71,193 euros for each day after the second Court ruling until Greece complies with the judgment.

All illegal landfills should have been shut down and rehabilitated by the end of 2008, the Commission said. It said Greece was sent a letter of formal notice in April 2009 reminding it of its obligations.

Some 78 illegal landfills continue to operate in violation of EU waste legislation and 318 are still in the process of being rehabilitated, the Commission said adding that the closure of illegal landfills is being held back by the lack of alternative waste treatment facilities.

It said the situation may become even worse because the Fyli landfill, northwestern Attica, which receives 90 percent of the waste generated in the Athens region, is facing imminent saturation. The landfill is expected to reach full capacity by the end of 2014.

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