Billboard cleanup needs cash

The mayor of Maroussi in northern Athens, Giorgos Patoulis, said yesterday the municipality will push ahead with efforts to pull down illegal billboards in the district but called for funding of nearly 800,000 euros from the central government to complete the cleanup effort. Patoulis said that municipal crews have so far removed about 20 billboards from streets and rooftops at a cost of 40,000 euros. Some 800,000 euros are needed to pull down the 330 illegal billboards believed to be in the area, according to the mayor. Experts say there are an estimated 15,000 illegal advertising signs around Athens, representing an industry valued at around 200 million euros per year. Advertising companies have often been accused of using heavy-handed tactics to keep their advertisements in place. «Despite the threats and abuse, we are aiming to restore order. We will implement the law with transparency and secure maximum revenues for the municipality… without destroying the city’s beauty,» said Patoulis.

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