Garbage solution is proposed

Attica’s garbage problem will not be solved through the creation of extra landfills, which are expensive, polluting and inefficient, but it can be tackled with three incinerators and a few waste sorting and treatment plants, according to a new study by the University of Crete. The study’s proposals outline «solutions that will guarantee viable practices on a national level until 2020 while also reducing the number of landfills across the country,» according to professor Alekos Economopoulos, who compiled the report. The proposals fly in the face of the government’s plans for waste management, which include the creation of several extra landfills in Attica as an «inevitable» measure. But plans to build new landfills in eastern and northern Attica have stalled after municipal authorities and citizens in targeted sites mounted court challenges. In his report, Economopoulos criticizes the government’s reliance on landfills, saying a plan drawn up in 2000 foreseeing the creation of 125 landfills across the country was not cost-efficient as each landfill could only take in 50 tons of garbage per day. He also criticized regional waste management plans, claiming that they have not helped reduce the volume of garbage ending up at landfills. Further, Economopoulos condemns authorities for failing to be specific when considering the implementation of modern technologies. The report calls for the drafting and implementation of a combination of technologies to reduce the amount of garbage going to landfills and improve procedures for sorting and processing. Specifically, the study recommends the establishment in Attica of several «comprehensive garbage management facilities,» including three incinerators and up to seven aerobic mechanical biological treatment plants where garbage is sorted and then treated. These plants can be built in disused mines, Economopoulos said, suggesting potential sites in Ptolemaida, near Kozani, and Megalogopolis, in the Peloponnese. An article in Kathimerini’s Oiko supplement today examines examples of the best practice in garbage management in other European countries where governments and citizens have adopted more environmentally friendly methods of garbage disposal.