NEWS

Garbage heaps stifle capital

As City Hall prepares to launch two new underground garbage-processing facilities in central Athens – one in the densely populated district of Kypseli and one on Skoufa Street in busy Kolonaki – city dwellers are accusing municipal authorities of negligence in failing to keep streets and sidewalks clear of trash. In Piraeus, the situation is said to be even worse with garbage dumpsters regularly overflowing despite efforts to reduce the volume of rubbish going into the bins through the launch of a recycling scheme. Around 1,000 blue bins have been placed in and around Piraeus but their existence has yet to have an impact on the cleanliness of the prefecture. In Athens more than 4,000 of these blue bins have been placed, both in the center and in the suburbs, and are increasingly being used by city residents. But with Athenians producing some 7,000 tons of household trash daily, recycling bins alone are not enough. According to officials at City Hall, the frequent protest marches in the capital do not help matters either as masses of leaflets and banners are discarded along with disposable food and drink packaging. «The daily marches and protests hinder us from effectively carrying out our services,» Giorgos Dimopoulos, deputy mayor for waste management and environment, told Kathimerini. Rigas Axelos, an opposition leftist councilor, said he believed blaming the city’s trash on demonstrators was an excuse. «Let us not forget that Paris has seen massive demonstrations, entire suburbs have gone up in flames, but the next day everything is spick-and-span because the municipal systems work.» Axelos said the problem was partly attributable to the fact that hundreds of municipal employees are on short-term contracts. «They cannot perform to the best of their abilities as their employment status is constantly in question,» the councilor said.