New deal offers hope on capital’s waste disposal

In a first step toward tackling the noisome problem of Athens waste disposal, the government yesterday signed a deal with Attica regional and local authorities that could allow construction of new landfills for the capital by mid-2006. The agreement between the Interior Ministry, the Attica regional authority and the association of Attica municipal and local authorities (ESDKNA) spoke of «a need to implement, in its entirety, regional planning for landfills in Attica, while at the same time there must be progress in the construction of [three landfills in Fyli, Keratea and Grammatiko.]» This was the first move by the government elected in March 2004 to address the question of waste disposal in the capital and its outlying areas. The current site at Ano Liosia is very close to capacity. Under the new deal, the Fyli landfill will be built by the regional authority and managed by ESDKNA. This is seen as a way of securing 150 million euros in European Union funding, which has been delayed for some 14 months due to Brussels’ distrust of ESDKNA. An EU response is expected within a month. If that proves affirmative, the project is expected to take another 18 months.