NEWS

Sludge sets off on long trip north

The loading of partially treated sewage onto a ship that will transport the sludge from the islet of Psyttaleia to Germany will start today, Deputy Environment Minister Themistoklis Xanthopoulos said yesterday, indicating that different business interests are behind the delays so far. Xanthopoulos told Parliament that the first ship, carrying 4,500 tons, will leave in four to five days as the Athens Water Supply and Sewage Company (EYDAP) exports the mounting sludge until it builds its own drying unit, expected to be completed in May 2007. Some 75,000 tons of sludge have been gathering on the islet, close to Piraeus, as local communities refuse to accommodate sites where the sewage can be deposited, saying it creates unhealthy conditions. The deputy minister said that prefectures have been avoiding unpopular decisions due to October’s local elections while businesses have each been promoting their own profitable solution to the waste problem. «I will talk more about this (delay) when I leave here. This is not an innocent story,» he said.