NEWS

Protests put end to sludge deal

The government appears to have dropped a deal to transport partially treated waste to central Greece for further treatment after residents there strongly protested the plan, which Kathimerini made public last week. The state-owned Athens Water Supply and Sewage Company (EYDAP) had agreed to run a test program transporting some 60 tons of partially treated waste per day to Aliartos, central Greece, from the storage facility in Metamorphosis in northern Athens. But local residents opposed the program, forcing an end to the agreement which effectively started 20 days ago. «Given the weight of the reactions from local communities and our corporate interests, we have decided that we no longer want to continue the pilot program regarding the waste from Metamorphosis,» said Haris Migiakis, president of Nea Anakiklosi, the company which had agreed to take the waste off the hands of EYDAP. The agreement would have provided only mild relief to Attica’s growing rubbish problems, but it also highlights the sensitivity of Greece’s waste treatment issue. Residents often react with a «not in my back yard» attitude when officials try to site such waste treatment or storage locations in their areas. With local elections scheduled for October, municipal officials also joined resident protests in Aliartos. Sources at EYDAP said the decision to cancel the agreement was not based on environmental or legal concerns. Nea Anakiklosi has all the necessary paperwork from all supervisory bodies, sources added. Meanwhile, a bigger problem in Athens’s waste management – sludge – is no closer to being solved. EYDAP has not decided what to do with 60,000 tons of sludge gathering on the islet of Psyttaleia near Piraeus. Transporting the sludge to Germany – one recently discussed option – is losing support because of the high cost involved, sources said. Visits to the main storage facility in Psyttaleia have increased in the last few days as representatives from different companies prepare to submit waste management proposals to the ministry.