Heap of rubbish complaints looms

At least another 10 official complaints have been made against Greece by European Union officials concerning illegal rubbish sites similar to the infamous Kouroupitos dump in Crete, waste disposal experts warned yesterday. After ignoring repeated EU warnings, Greece was sentenced in July 2000 to pay 20,000 euros for every day the uncontrolled dump at Akrotiri, near the western town of Hania, continued to function. It continued to run for over a year. Yesterday, representatives of the Hellenic Society for Solid Waste Management (EEDSA) told a press conference that EU officials have officially complained to Athens about 10 provincial dumps similar to Kouroupitos. These are at Epitalios in the western Peloponnese, Paros, Santorini, Ierissos in Halkidiki, Messolonghi, Ftelia near Arta, Pera Galini near Iraklion on Crete, Evangelistria in the Corinth area, Paeania in eastern Attica and the Costoulas dump in western Attica. Furthermore, EEDSA officials said, complaints are pending regarding dumps at Kotychi in the western Peloponnese and at Dourouti near Ioannina. In the case of the Kouroupitos dump, Greece was fined after eight years of ignoring a European Court decision calling for the dump’s closure. EEDSA Chairman Dimitris Panayiotakopoulos, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Thrace, said about 4.5 million tons of solid waste are produced every year in Greece. Half of this, he said, ends up unprocessed in some 3,000 uncontrolled dump sites. According to Panayiotakopoulos, annual waste production includes 350,000 tons of toxic, dangerous waste, and 250,000 tons of discarded electric and electronic appliances. EEDSA is hosting a conference on «Solid Waste Management for a Viable Development in the 21st Century» in Athens on Thursday and Friday.

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