NEWS

Trash strike threatened

An impasse over Attica’s waste problems is looming, as local authorities said yesterday that they would shut down the only landfill serving Athens, which will likely lead to garbage piling up on the capital’s streets for the third time this year. The Union of Municipal Authorities in Attica (ESDKNA) met yesterday and decided to shut down on Sunday the dump at Ano Liosia in northwestern Athens. ESDKNA claims that there will be no more room for trash at the site in 10 days’ time. Representatives said that the closure would be indefinite. Their decision comes just before two crucial decisions for the future of waste management in Athens. ESDKNA sources did not hide the fact that their move is designed with these decisions in mind. On December 7 the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, is expected to rule on appeals by local authorities in Fyli, Keratea and Grammatiko asking that plans to build landfills there be abandoned. The government had been hoping that the construction of dumps at these three Attica sites would lead to the closure of the landfill at Ano Liosia, where residents, workers and local authorities have mounted a long campaign against the dumping of garbage in their area. The Attica Regional Council is also due to meet on December 16 to discuss waste management issues. All the indications are that it will support the creation of three new landfills to alleviate the trash problems in Athens rather than alternative solutions, such as recycling, which experts think could halve the 5,000 tons of rubbish collected in Athens daily. Meanwhile, the consortium that looks set to transfer to Sudan sludge from Attica’s only sewage treatment plant on the islet of Psyttaleia, off Piraeus, assured that the process would be environmentally safe. The sludge is currently being dumped in Ano Liosia, much to the anger of locals. The Greek consortium said that it would cost less to transfer it to Sudan at some 41 euros per ton. Representatives said that the sludge would be placed in airtight sacks before being put in tankers and shipped to the east African state. There it will be treated at a unit owned by American firm CPMC and the heavy metals removed from the sludge. The treated sewage will then be mixed with sand and used in the planting of trees near Khartoum airport.