City life tires Athenians

Two in three Athenians are unhappy with life in the capital and believe conditions have deteriorated over the past few years due to increasing traffic congestion, inadequate garbage disposal and rising air pollution, according to the results of a poll made public in yesterday’s Kathimerini. According to the survey, carried out by Public Issue on behalf of Kathimerini, 65 percent of city-dwellers are «dissatisfied» with their quality of life and would leave Athens to live elsewhere if they could. Of these, four in 10 (39 percent) cited traffic as the capital’s biggest problem. This was followed by 25 percent who objected to mounting trash piles and 17 percent concerned about pollution. More than half of respondents (56 percent) expressed disappointment with Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. A total of 84 percent said his term had coincided with a deterioration in the capital’s parking problem, with 79 percent seeing a peak in crime and 69 percent an aggravation of the city’s pollution problem. Despite most respondents’ exasperation with the capital’s traffic problem, nearly half (47 percent) said they object to the imposition of a toll charge on vehicles, probably because the majority are car-owners themselves. But a surprisingly high rate of respondents (89 percent) said they would back the creation of bicycle lanes. The dwindling space in the capital is also evidently a concern to citizens questioned for the poll, as 76 percent said they support the demolition of old buildings to create more room. Also more than half (54 percent) said they thought demonstrations should be restricted in the city center due to the additional traffic problems they create. Perhaps the most encouraging finding in the survey was that one in three (33 percent) of Athenians is sensitized to the importance of recycling their household trash. Those who said they recycled paper, metals, batteries and plastic refuse claimed to do so at least five times a month. Another 15 percent claimed to recycle three or four times a month and 15 percent said they recycled once or twice monthly.

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