Fines loom for water pollution

The European Commission yesterday threatened to fine Greece for failing to take specific action to reduce water pollution, in flagrant breach of a four-year-old decision by the European Court of Justice. In a final written warning, the Commission said «substantial fines» could be imposed if Athens does nothing. In May 2000, the court ruled against Greece for failing to adopt and communicate action to reduce pollution of the country’s waters by 99 dangerous substances, including arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organic tin compounds. In response, Greek authorities – together with EU officials – drafted a comprehensive pollution-reduction plan. But the legislation that would have established the program was never passed, or communicated to Brussels, the Commission said. The Commission also threatened to fine the Netherlands and Belgium, started legal action against Portugal and France, and threatened to do the same to Ireland, Spain and Germany – all for water pollution.

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