Garbage tops talks of mayor with PM

The new mayor of Athens, Nikitas Kaklamanis, yesterday broached the thorny issue of waste management in the capital in his first official meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Kaklamanis also proposed a rise in government funding for local authorities, who are responsible for implementing waste-management policies, from 5 percent to 7 percent of the national budget. Karamanlis agreed in principle to both the funding hike and to proposals to implement a new waste-management strategy encompassing recycling and garbage processing, Kaklamanis said. The new mayor, who has said he intends to implement «new technologies» in the processing of waste and to improve coordination for a more efficient trash collecting process, conceded that Greece would have to rely on landfills for a few more years. «We cannot simply press a button and conjure up modern waste-processing plants. Attica needs five such plants. Over the next five years, we have to start building them,» he said. Plans to open new landfills, to alleviate the saturated dump at Ano Liosia, northwestern Attica, have been thwarted by residents mounting court challenges. But the Council of State is due to rule over the next weeks whether the new sites, in Grammatiko and Keratea – in northern and southern Attica – can start operating. In the meantime, Kaklamanis said, a temporary extension to the Ano Liosia site will continue to function.

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