Trash litters Athens as only landfill is saturated

As thousands of tons of garbage piled up on the streets of the capital yesterday, authorities vowed to tackle the problem over the next few weeks. The capital’s only landfill, at Ano Liosia in western Attica, was unable to accommodate the mountains of garbage – boosted by discarded Christmas gift wrapping and leftovers – so the trash bags remained on the city’s streets. Work is under way to build an extension to the existing landfill, in the neighboring municipality of Fyli, which would solve the capital’s waste problem, it is hoped. But this new dump is not expected to be operational for at least another month. In the meantime, municipal garbage trucks will be conducting restricted service as resident groups attempt to clear up their neighborhoods. Despite the grim outlook, authorities yesterday struck a positive note, stressing that waste management was a priority. «The problem with Attica’s landfills will be the government’s chief concern over the next few weeks,» Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos told Antenna radio station in an interview. Athens’s new mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis, also expressed optimism, pledging to exploit new technologies in the attempt to tackle the problem. But authorities are facing opposition from residents of the areas slated for new landfills – in Fyli near the Ano Liosia site and two sites in eastern Attica, Grammatiko and Keratea. Residents and municipal authorities complain that these landfills will pose a health hazard and have taken their cases to the Council of State.

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