Corfu struggles with build-up of trash

Corfu struggles with build-up of trash

Six fire trucks and a water-dumping helicopter were fighting a large blaze on Tuesday afternoon that erupted out of piles of trash that have accumulated in the area of Kouloura on the Ionian island of Corfu, in the second such incident in less than 24 hours.

Earlier in the day, a smaller fire leaped out of a trash heap in Aghios Stefanos but was brought under control before it could spread.

Trash has been piling up all across the pretty holiday island for the past two months after the municipal authority's contract with collectors expired, with Mayor Costas Nikolouzos saying that his hands are tied by rules restricting his ability to commission trash collection directly to a firm without the lengthy process of a competition and to hire machines and workers so the municipal authority can do the job itself.

In the meantime, students at the middle and high school of Kassiope did not turn up to class on Tuesday in protest at the piles of garbage that have formed outside their school, as parents met amid concerns of a public health hazard.

The problems on Corfu started in the summer when residents in Lefkimmi began hampering efforts to build a new waste management facility in the area to replace the old landfill, which has been condemned by the European Commission.

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