NEWS

Mayor eyes recycling as trash remedy

New Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis says he plans to oversee the construction of a recycling plant and incineration unit in the capital, whose chronic waste management problem has recently reached crisis levels as the city’s landfills have overflowed. Kaklamanis, who took the post on January 1 and has criticized the city’s current system of trash disposal, told Sunday’s Kathimerini that his proposal could help reduce the amount of garbage at landfills by 85 percent. «When you sweep a problem under the rug… at some point it will come back to haunt you aggressively,» Kaklamanis said. Authorities in Athens have struggled with trash collections over the last month because there is no more room at the city’s only landfill in Ano Liosia. A stopgap rubbish dump at nearby Fyli, in northwest Athens, is also brimming with household waste as officials await the ruling of the Council of State on whether two new landfills can be built in eastern Attica. Kaklamanis said that Athenians pay some -17 million a year to the Union of Municipal Authorities in Attica (ESDKNA) to keep Athens clean but are not seeing the results which this expenditure deserves. He proposed the creation of a recycling center in Elaionas, near central Athens, where the city’s rubbish can be sorted so that recyclable materials are not thrown into landfills along with other waste. Kaklamanis also wants an modern, pollution-free incineration unit to be constructed on the outskirts of Athens to burn the remaining rubbish. He said that this will lead to only 15 percent of the current amount of trash being dumped at landfills in the future. «Recycling is established as a policy and a duty within the European Union framework,» said Kaklamanis. «From the municipality’s implementation of recycling programs so far, we have substantial experience in our ranks and significant approval from residents to expand the policy further.»