High court to decide on landfills

Greece’s chronic garbage problem looks set to worsen as the local authority responsible for the area where Athens’s only landfill is located is having its case heard today by the Council of State with a view to reducing the amount of trash the dump accepts by over 90 percent. Ano Liosia council is contesting a decision by former Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou, which allowed the dumping of 6,000 tons of garbage on the site. The municipality claims that the dump’s operational contract does not allow this much trash to be emptied at the dump each day. The local council has passed a decision to accept only 500 tons of garbage a day at the landfill. It is now hoping that the Council of State will back its decision. As Ano Liosia houses Attica’s only dump, the implications of such a decision for waste disposal in and around the capital would be serious. The Ano Liosia dump has proved a thorny issue for many years. In January, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis criticized the state of the landfill, saying it needed to be cleaned up and action was necessary to improve its road infrastructure and create new entrances. The association of Attica’s municipal authorities – which is responsible for the running of the dump – rejected her claims at the time. Meanwhile, residents of Tagarades in east Thessaloniki yesterday blockaded the landfill which has been located in their area for over 20 years in protest at its continued operation and the delay in building a new dump close to the village of Mavrorrachi, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the city and near the town of Langadas. The campaigners did not allow any garbage trucks through to unload their trash and plan to continue their action today. Refuse authorities say the protest will not cause a problem with garbage collections around the city. Langadas residents met in the town square yesterday to protest against the creation of the landfill at nearby Mavrorrachi. Local authorities have also filed an appeal with the Council of State, hoping to cancel the project completely. The case is scheduled to be heard on October 13.