Greece paid 29.5 million euros in fines in 2015 for the 46 landfills that continue to operate illegally in the country. Meanwhile, though the state did manage to avoid paying 5.3 million euros after closing down 24 uncontrolled dumps and rehabilitating the land used for another 87 former landfills, it had to pay 11 million euros to municipal authorities that were left without any waste disposal options.
The general secretary responsible for waste disposal at the Interior Ministry, Evangelos Kapetanios, presented data on the illegal landfills to a recent meeting of the Union of Municipalities (KEDE), telling them that 46 remain in operation and 136 have been shut down but not yet rehabilitated.
Epirus, Kapetanios showed, is the only region in Greece without any illegal dumps, while 20 still exist in the Peloponnese, for which Greece pays fines of 3.8 million euros for every six months that they remain in operation.
Greece was convicted by the European Court of Justice in October 2005 over its lack of proper waste management. Back then, the country had over 3,000 landfills that were in violation of European regulations.
The country was taken back to court after failing to comply with the first ruling in 2009 and its failure to implement directives from that time has led to it having to pay fines of 14.5 million euros for every six months that illegal dumps remain in operation, starting from December 2014.
The fines are reduced by 80,000 euros for every dump that is closed and another 40,000 euros for those that are rehabilitated.