NEWS

Mayor sees rubbish threat

Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis yesterday warned that urgent action is needed to speed up the creation of a new rubbish-processing plant in the capital’s only landfill, arguing that failure to address the matter could create major problems during the Summer Olympics. Bakoyannis described the situation as «nightmarish,» telling a press conference that the Athens rubbish dump at Ano Liosia currently functions under conditions reminiscent of a Third World state. She said a 73-million-euro mechanical recycling plant that was supposed to be built with European Union funds has yet to open, and warned that this could lead to Greece being summoned to return the EU contribution. Bakoyannis charged that the landfill has still to be properly cleared after a landslide last year, and called for action to improve the road infrastructure inside the dump and create new entrances and access roads. She said she had written to Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the matter, as well as to Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou and the Athens 2004 organizing committee. The mayor said that the current landfill cannot fully address the capital’s current waste management requirements, and would be in no position to cope with a great surge in garbage production during the August Games. The chairman of the association of Attica’s municipal authorities – which is responsible for the running of the dump – dismissed most of Bakoyannis’s arguments. In a specially called press conference, Giorgos Mastorakis said work on the mechanical processing plant had started 20 days ago, and promised that the unit would be ready in April.