EU court slams Greece over hazardous waste

The European Court of Justice yesterday slammed Greece for breaking EU law by not recognizing a pollution problem near Athens and for failing to draw up an action plan on how to deal with hazardous waste. The court’s judgment, in a case which first came to light in 1992, relates to six companies, including three tanneries, operating in the Thriassio plain and Elefsina Gulf, west of Athens, which have been found to be polluting the environment. The court said the tanneries should be shut down or moved, as they are releasing effluent into the sea. None of the six companies was found by the European Court to have been authorized to treat or collect their hazardous waste. Meanwhile, the production of hazardous waste annually in Greece has leveled out at some 287,000 tons – a third less than in 1988 – according to a study by the Technical Chamber of Greece published yesterday. Almost 90 percent of the waste is produced by up to 25 units, mostly involved in oil refining and the production of chemicals and fertilizers. Some 76 percent of Greece’s dangerous waste is stored temporarily in special sites around the country before being disposed of, the study found.

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