NEWS

Laliotis: ‘Attica will have a new landscape’

A 40-billion-drachma program to increase the amount of green space in Attica by 4-4.5 percent by 2006 was announced by Environment Minister Costas Laliotis yesterday. In 2004, Attica will have a new landscape, said Laliotis, detailing the number of trees, shrubs and other plants that will be planted in and around 60 districts, six Olympic installations, 14 Olympic road projects and infrastructure works such as the Attiki Odos, for which 805,000 plants have been earmarked, and the new international airport. At the moment, Athens and Thessaloniki are among the cities in Europe with the lowest percentage of green cover. In Athens there are 2.55 square meters of green space per inhabitant and in Thessaloniki 2.73 square meters, compared with nine square meters in London and Rome, 8.54 in Paris, 18 in Warsaw, 13 in Berlin and 20 in Vienna. The plan provides for 300,000 trees, 14.2 million shrubs, 16 million flowering plants, 57 million ground cover plants and 10.5 million other plants. The program also provides for the continuation of the Attica S0S program, with an emphasis on linking green spaces in urban and suburban areas. About 5,000 hectares on the Pikilos mountain and the Aigaleo forest in western Attica alone are to be planted with 5 million trees and shrubs. Laliotis said 300,000 hectares of land in Attica including the surrounding mountain ranges would be covered by the program of emergency protection. Old quarries are to be utilized, and trees planted along main roads, along the Saronic coast and avenues entering the city -Pireos Street, Vouliagmenis and Kifissou avenues, Elefsina and Dafni – as well as in the historic centers of Athens and Piraeus. Many analysts, like Neophytos Chrysochos of the European Institute think tank, believe Denktash would not have been able to snub the latest talks without receiving the green light from Ankara.