Mayoral candidate suggests Athens citizens develop green fingers

Athens, which has the least greenery of any European capital, had a great opportunity to acquire more plants and trees, as part of the works for the 2004 Olympic Games. Yet Athens mayoral candidate Dora Bakoyianni is very pessimistic about the greenery projects for 2004. «What’s happening is a crime,» she says. «The nurseries still don’t know what they should produce, and plants need time to grow.» If elected mayor, Bakoyianni wants large new trees suited to the city’s flora in the streets of Athens, even if they cost more. She also wants to give the city some color by planting seasonal flowers, and by giving incentives to the public to tend the greenery that is planted. Bakoyianni says the municipality would offer plants and expertise free or cheaply to people who want to grow plants at home. An annual competition for the best balconies and gardens would be another incentive. «The capital’s greenery can depend on the citizens of this city, on volunteers,» she says. «I believe these incentives will work. They may not, but isn’t it worth trying? At any rate, things can’t stay the way they are.» Her prime aim is for the City of Athens to assume responsibility for the city’s large green spaces, such as Pedion tou Areos and the National Gardens, and for the funds allocated to them, because while many people manage green spaces in theory, nobody takes care of them in reality. And she wants a municipal unit to recycle the city’s plant waste into biomass, a project which would receive EU funding. PORT POLICE