Environment goes online

Hundreds of Greek Internet users, including European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, joined yesterday in the first ever international electronic debate on environmental issues, during which the EU official called for Greece to employ better waste management. Organizers of the UN-backed «Blog Action Day» said about 15,800 sites had signed up and were offering ideas to millions of people via blogs, or online diaries, on how to become more environmentally friendly. Hundreds of Greek bloggers exchanged views on how to improve environmental awareness. «We have to take the first step, then the second and third,» wrote spdd from «At the end of the day, the environment is not something that is relevant to others. It is relevant to you, the person reading this now, me and our children.» The Greek bloggers were also prominent in a question-and-answer session with Dimas. «There are big differences in national levels of environmental awareness – though my impression is that the level is increasing pretty much everywhere,» Dimas wrote in his blog. But he suggested that Greece is not doing enough to solve its waste problem and reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills. «Greece is facing a serious and chronic problem with waste management.» Dimas said that all the EU member states have to substantially reduce by 2015 the amount of rubbish they dump in landfills and increase the amount of trash that is recycled. «By the end of 2008, when the Greek authorities will be invited to review their national waste-management plan, other solutions (than those of landfills) will have to be given the appropriate attention,» Dimas wrote. He also called on Greece to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, improve the energy efficiency of buildings and invest more in sources of renewable energy. Greek bloggers came to prominence at the end of August when they organized a rally in central Athens attended by some 10,000 people to protest the wildfires that had devastated parts of the Peloponnese and Evia.