Public awareness a key step in efficient waste management

Needless to say there are a number of problems to contend with in a municipality of this size. Other than the simple question of where these bins will be placed, there is also the matter of educating residents. «About 30 percent of the material tossed into the blue bins is regular garbage,» says Deputy Mayor Dimopoulos. Residents must learn about recycling and make that little extra effort to ensure that it is done properly; a worthwhile effort to make everyone’s lives a little bit better. Some food for thought: For every ton of aluminium produced by recycling, there is 51 tons less carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere every day. Dimopoulos also rejects accusations that the blue bins are often emptied by regular garbage collection trucks, rather than the specially designated fleet for recycling. «That may have happened in the past, and may happen again in the future, but only when the Ano Liosia dump is closed due to strike action and residents put their rubbish in any and every receptacle.» However, of the eight trucks in the recycling fleet, two are currently out of order. Kirkitsos, of the Ecological Recycling Society, has been fighting to improve the city’s recycling record for years. He is somewhat pessimistic about the future, saying that what decisions have been reached are merely due to pressure from the European Union and that there is no real planning for any endeavor of great magnitude. «It would be much easier to build a sorting center inside Athens rather than taking the recyclables to Aspropyrgos,» for example, he says. «It would cost a lot less in the long run too.» (1) This article first appeared in the April 2007 issue of Eco, Kathimerini’s monthly supplement.

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