Tensions building over landfill site at Grammatiko
A showdown is in the offing between Attica Regional Governor Rena Dourou and local authorities and residents over the operation of a new landfill near the village of Grammatiko, northeast of the capital.
Dourou appears unwilling to back down, having emphasized during a session of the regional council on Thursday that the project will go ahead.
“We are not taking one step back even though we’re in a pre-election period,” she said.
Meanwhile local residents, who have taken legal action against the project, are determined to prevent the landfill’s operation. A prosecutor is to investigate whether there are any grounds to residents’ claims that the dump is illegal because it is operating in a quake-prone area and close to streams.
Dourou has sought to appease residents, claiming that the dump would receive 23,000 tons of residual waste from one of the capital’s four recycling plants – far short of the 120,000 tons of unprocessed garbage that the original plan had foreseen.
But residents remain unconvinced. Clashes between protesters and police on Tuesday halted a test run for the site, with police calling for the landfill to remain closed until the tension has eased. Locals also have some officials on their side. The Marathon municipal council has backed their claims that the dump is illegal, pledging to pay the legal fees of residents arrested during demonstrations.
The Attica Regional Authority has also taken legal action, asking for the test run to be allowed to resume.
Would-be governor Yiannis Sgouros, who will challenge Dourou in May local authority elections, underlined the importance of Attica getting a second landfill but said that a new study should be conducted for Grammatiko, saying Dourou has done “nothing” in her five years in office.
Marathon Mayor Ilias Psinakis struck a similar note, telling Kathimerini he is not against the creation of a new landfill in the area as long as it is preceded by a proper study. “At the moment, the procedure is illegal,” he said, claiming that environmental regulations are not being respected.
He accused Dourou of insisting on the landfill’s operation over fears of having to return European Union subsidies if it is halted.