Green policies promised

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis promised yesterday to step up government efforts to oversee and implement programs that can help to fight the greenhouse effect in a bid to close the gap separating Greece from its EU peers regarding environmentally friendly programs. «We are continually enriching our planning based on new facts from research and the new possibilities offered by technology,» said Karamanlis in a message for today’s World Environment Day. The prime minister added that consumers need to help with efforts to improve the country’s poor track record on environmental issues. On the recycling front, Greece is some 13 years behind the rest of Europe. According to the Environment Ministry, some 14 percent of rubbish was recycled in 2006 and it is hoped that this figure will rise to an ambitious 20 percent this year. The respective EU average stands at around 33 percent. The government yesterday launched a composting plant in Ano Liosia, northwestern Athens, that will process 50 percent of waste from the city’s landfill. «It is one of the biggest in Europe, offering high technology for the recycling and biological processing of waste,» said Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Plans for the compost operation had initially been prepared in 1997 but were delayed due to the lack of political will power and transparent procedures, Pavlopoulos added. A survey commissioned by environmental group WWF recently showed that Greeks recognize that human behavior is responsible for problems in the environment but that the majority continue to use their cars on a daily basis and rarely recycle. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told Kathimerini that even small changes to our daily behavior that do not affect our lifestyles can contribute to a reduction in the greenhouse effect. «A crucial factor in implementing effectively an environment policy is increasing knowledge and awareness,» he said.

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