NEWS

Road rage over Car Free Day

The government came under fire yesterday for failing to participate more actively in today’s European Car Free Day at a time when pollutions levels in Athens alone are said to be responsible for thousands of deaths per year. The Synaspismos Left Coalition party said that although 930 different European cities will ban traffic circulation today, the measure will not be implemented anywhere in Greece. «Instead of having essential measures that will help to avoid car usage… the government has resorted to limited impact activities, showing its low opinion of the occasion,» it said. Public transport will be free of charge today from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Athens. Other events, such as bike-riding activities, have also been organized by local city councils. The environmental group Greenpeace said that 290,000 new cars rolled onto the country’s roads in 2004, keeping pollution levels high. «Studies show that if the average level of PM10 particles in Athens was below 20 mg/m3 (rather than 52.12 mg/m3 currently) we would have 5,066 fewer deaths every year,» it said.