Garbage relief is on the way

Trash collection in Athens should return to normal schedules by the end of the month as the first phase of work to expand Attica’s landfill capacity is set to be completed by then, authorities said yesterday. Representatives of the Union of Municipal Authorities in Attica (ESDKNA) said that the construction of a second cell to house rubbish at Fyli, near the capital’s only dump in Ano Liosia, should be completed today. The first cell, which was built as a stopgap until new landfills had been constructed in Attica, is already full. Officials are hoping that a dump covering almost 4 hectares will be constructed in Fyli to ease Athens’s growing trash problem. Authorities have been forced into action over the last few months because the Ano Liosia dump is almost full and projects to build new landfills in Keratea, east of Athens, and Grammatiko, northeast of Athens, have been held up by legal wrangles. These problems have led to less frequent collection of garbage from dumpsters around the capital and thousands of tons of rotting garbage littering the streets. Matters were further complicated when a 52-year-old garbage truck driver lost a leg in an accident at the Fyli site on Saturday. This forced authorities to close the dump on Sunday. It reopened yesterday. Two other drivers who were arrested after the accident were released without charge. Workers at the Fyli dump warned yesterday that it does not yet have the necessary safety measures and infrastructure. They said that heavy rain could make access to the site impossible for garbage trucks. Meanwhile, a meeting is in the works with government representatives, prefectural officials and mayors from eastern Attica to discuss the possibility of scrapping plans to build the new landfills in Grammatiko and Keratea and building one in Ritsona, north of Athens, instead. The various sides are expected to meet in the next few days to see if a they can reach an agreement.

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