NEWS

Trash incinerator for Rhodes

Authorities on the popular tourist island of Rhodes said yesterday that they are preparing to accommodate the country’s first trash incineration facility, though local residents reportedly only just heard about the plans and are seeking guarantees that their quality of life will not be affected. Ten local mayors and the prefect of the Dodecanese, of which Rhodes is the capital, have all backed the project and a feasibility plan for the facility has been submitted to the Environment and Public Works Ministry, it emerged yesterday. The facility, which would burn some 250 tons of trash per day, is to be constructed in the island’s north, near the local landfill and not far from the town of Rhodes itself, probably within the next two years. According to the president of the Hellenic Solid Waste Management Association, Giorgos Ypsilantis, the plant will form just a small part of «a comprehensive waste management operation.» This operation will include the extension of the existing landfill, which is nearing saturation, a new landfill which will be set aside for the ash produced by the incinerating facility, a composting facility for natural waste and a recycling unit for plastic, paper, metals and other reusable materials. As the cost of the undertaking is estimated at some 100 million euros, it is likely that it will be funded through a public-private partnership, sources said. One operational issue that remains to be clarified is how the facility will function during the summer months when trash levels usually double due to the influx of hundreds of thousands of tourists. As for concerns about pollution, local mayors do not appear to be too troubled. «Legislation governing the construction and operation of such facilities is very strict and (authorities) have received assurances that pollution levels will be extremely low,» Ypsilantis said. Residents however are concerned about the implications of the plant. «People have only now started realizing what is going to happen and are seeking assurances,» said Giorgos Pastrikos of the Greek office of Friends of Nature, an international conservation organization. «The social dialogue on this subject has yet to begin,» he said.