The Asopos River in central Greece, which has long served as a dumping ground for factories in Viotia, could be rescued thanks to government plans to close a legal loophole that has allowed waste to be poured into the watercourse. Environment Minister Tina Birbili revealed yesterday that the government will soon repeal a 1969 law that allowed industrial plants in the area, north of Athens, to dump treated waste in the river. In reality, this gave firms license to discard all kinds of waste and the Asopos is now one of the most polluted rivers in Greece, with high levels of carcinogenic hexavalent chromium in particular. Birbili said that under the new law, the waste will have to be rigorously treated before disposal and the Asopos will be required to meet certain hygiene standards. The bill is due to be tabled in Parliament in the spring.