Thessaloniki environmental inspectors accused of turning blind eye to pollution failures


A prosecutor in the northern port city of Thessaloniki has requested that the head of the city’s environmental monitoring agency and eight more inspectors stand trial after an investigation report, which has been seen by Kathimerini, revealed a high number of administrative violations.

The investigation was launched in 2015 on the orders of the country’s general inspector for public administration and was aimed at scrutinizing the work done by environmental inspectors in northern Greece all the way back to 2010.

However, authorities were only able to collect data on the period from 2010 to 2011, as the head of the Thessaloniki agency refused to provide any details for the remaining four-year period.

Authorities still found that plenty of environmental violations were covered up, either through unjustified delays or direct administrative orders.

In 63 out of the 122 cases between 2010 and 2011 that were investigated by authorities, considerable delays of up to five years were found. In many cases, no fines had been imposed on violators.

The delays concerned violations of environmental regulations at landfills, biological waste treatment facilities, private businesses and even hospitals.

According to the report, five-and-a-half years since the environmental monitoring agency launched an inspection at nine hospitals, none of the cases has been brought to a close.