Cleaning units in Pyrgos in the Peloponnese began the arduous task of clearing up to 3,500 tons of scattered rubbish and waste from streets and outdoor areas Thursday in a bid to spruce up the town’s image ahead of next month’s Olympic Flame lighting ceremony.
Pyrgos Mayor Gavrilis Liatsis said it was imperative for the region’s image that the town and the road leading to Ancient Olympia are cleaned. There is a rubbish mound every 100 meters on the road to the flame ceremony site, he told Kathimerini.
“Myself and the mayor of Ancient Olympia are in a very difficult position because of the rubbish that has not been collected,” he said, adding that the town was already receiving negative publicity from tourists and foreign media.
“Until now, we had to deal with the negative comments of cruise liner tourists arriving at Katakolo about the state of the route leading to ancient Olympia. Now journalists are arriving from all over the world and they see the rubbish,” Liatsis said.
The waste will be transferred to a landfill in western Greece after the initial refusal of local authorities there was overcome with the intervention of Interior Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis.
Pyrgos and Ancient Olympia have borne the brunt of a legal row between the Interior Ministry and the mayors of Agrinio and Vonitsa over their refusal to accept waste from other parts of the country until a landfill is created in Amaliada.