NEWS

Recycling for building rubble

Construction companies will be required to recycle 30 percent of rubble generated at building sites in legislation that aims to clean up the country of randomly dumped construction waste and to ease demand for quarry services. Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias signed the presidential decree yesterday, introducing the obligation to recycle waste after a delay of more than four years. The Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, pulled the brake on the proposed law due to the lack of a recycling body able to oversee the implementation of the law. Builders will be required to obtain written confirmation from a certified recycling company showing they have recycled 30 percent of their building waste. By 2013, the minimum limit will be lifted to 60 percent. The legislation will require builders to use materials, such as bricks and steel girders, that meet certain specifications that allow them to be reused. Paperwork proving that the right procedures have been adhered to will also have to be submitted to town-planning offices. Apart from helping to lower demand for quarry services, the law is seen as a means of helping to clean up the tons of building waste dumped in vacant lots and park areas around the country. The construction sector is estimated to generates some 5.5 million tons of waste per year. Recycling plants will need to be set up across the country by 2010, with the exception of sparsely populated regions. Opposition parties described the law as having a theoretical approach. «The environment minister is restricted to producing laws and regulations while avoiding how things are happening in reality,» said PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos. Meanwhile, a cleanup operation of the capital’s polluted Kifissos River, organized by Kathimerini and Skai Radio and TV, continued yesterday in the Adames area in northern Athens. Volunteers collected more than 200 garbage bags of waste that were sent to a recycling plant.