Space for trash not a problem

There is more trash on Athens’s streets because garbage trucks cannot get to the capital’s landfill, not because authorities have run out of space to store refuse, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said yesterday. An extension to the current landfill in Ano Liosia, northwest Athens, has been completed, Pavlopoulos said. But access roads to the new dump, in Fyli, have not been finished yet, the minister added. He assured Athenians, however, that this matter would be resolved within the next few days. Thousands of tons of rubbish have piled up on the city’s streets as the pace of garbage collection has slowed down over the last few weeks. The amount of trash on the streets has been made worse by the waste from Christmas celebrations, such as wrapping paper and discarded trees which have been thrown into dumpsters. Pavlopoulos insisted that the stopgap landfill would be able to cope with the capital’s trash for the next few months until completely new dumps are built in Grammatiko and Keratea, eastern Attica. Residents and local authorities are currently waiting to hear if their appeal to the Council of State to stop the construction of the landfills has been successful. Pavlopoulos said that 152 million euros of funding from the European Union had been secured for the new dumps. He added that efforts were being made to close down the hundreds of illegal landfill sites across Greece. «Every day that passes, we are shutting these sites down… so that by the end of 2007 we will not have any illegal landfills,» the minister said. The government has ordered the closure of some 2,700 illegal trash dumps.

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