NEWS

Complete lack of control due to absence of legislation on rubble

The problem is rooted in the lack of legislation. A new law exists but has not yet been published in the Government Gazette and so cannot be implemented. In December, the ministers of public works, the economy, the interior and health signed a draft bill «on the alternative management of waste from excavation, construction and demolition.» The decree is based on earlier legislation: 1650/1986 «on protection of the environment» and 2939/2001 «on packaging and the alternative management of packages and other products» as well as related EU directives. It aims at cutting down on waste from construction and technical projects. It also contains provisions for sorting rubble into separate components, such as metal and bricks, so that some of it can be reused; only what cannot be recycled will be dumped. The decree also aims to impose order on the manner in which rubble is collected and transported, and to specify the responsibilities of those who manage it. «The European Union stipulates that 30 percent of rubble must be recycled by the end of 2006, 50 percent by 2008 and 80 percent by 2015. As you can imagine, we aren’t going to meet any of those goals,» said Dimitris Kioukis of the Private Trucks and Earthmoving Equipment Owners’ Association. «The law hasn’t been published and from what we heard, it only reached the Council of State a few days ago, so the matter will be delayed for several more months.» Kioukis admits that the current situation on Hymettus (as in other parts of Attica) is the result of the lack of laws and controls. «Everything is up in the air. Officially, the landfill at Ano Liosia accepts rubble and soil from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., in order to cover the garbage. At other times, rubble might end up anywhere.» The sole alternative is the unused quarries of Athens which are being rehabilitated by the Athens Organization. «For example,» said Kioukis, «it costs 10-25 euros to dump rubble at the Fragou quarry, depending on the size of the load. But things are not so straightforward in the case of the other quarries. At some of the quarries in Attica that companies that have undertaken to refurbish, they are still actually quarrying and when people pay them to dump rubble, they simply dump it in streams. They also make a fortune by collecting payment without giving receipts. This situation is unacceptable and must change.»