NEWS

Army passes the buck onto the Environment and Public Works Ministry about auctions of junk

When Kathimerini asked the General Army Command (GES) and the State Properties Organization (ODDY), two of the most typical, but by no means the only, perpetrators, about the situation, it received the following reply from the GES: «The Defense Ministry has received clarification from the Environment and Public Works Ministry’s environmental planning department as to the way to manage waste… the armed forces cooperate with licensed collectors and approved systems of alternative management.» As for the legality of selling vehicles and other waste, GES claims, although rather vaguely, that this is not banned. «Auctions by GES through competitions for products which although for disposal still have a certain value, do not come under the provisions in Law 2939/2001. The products auctioned are included in the army resources, according to Law 114/1936.» ODDY’s reply was in the same vein regarding sales of old cars. «The concept of zero value does not exist,» said ODDY President Dimitris Konistis, who says ODDY only works with licensed organizations, which however force their hand. «They don’t come to the auctions so as to lower prices. So the state loses revenue through the very systems it has introduced to protect the environment. Reserves of vehicles at the end of their lifespans are almost exhausted, so licensed organizations have to find material at reasonable prices, but they have become used to profits of 50-70 percent and don’t want to drop to 10 percent. That would be desirable if there were vehicle-recycling systems everywhere, but ODDY has to transport them to Athens.» Konistis also says ODDY is not permitted to give cars away. «When a car comes into ODDY’s garages, it can’t go out again without a price on it. We are a commercial enterprise, we can’t do anything else,» he said.