The same old trash

The recurring problem with piles of garbage on the streets of Athens is indicative of the state’s boundless inability to solve crucial problems due to fear of the political cost. Last June, when rolling strikes by garbage workers were halted after the intervention of a public prosecutor, everybody knew that this was only temporary relief. And so, nearly four months later, we are faced with the same deadlock, with 4 million Athenians experiencing the same problem, for the same reasons. The causes of this problem are well known. It is also clear that politicians, local government officials and workers are all responsible. It does not help that Attica is the worst example of a «developed» region, with no planning and an evident contempt for the environment. All these factors are to blame for a lack of resolution to an admittedly complex and thorny problem, which the experience of other European capitals shows can be effectively tackled. There are many excuses for perpetuating this unacceptable situation but, at the end of the day, citizens are not interested in the petty political concerns of government officials, nor do they know which method of garbage disposal is most effective. But they do expect those in power to find a final solution to the garbage problem, which, at its worst, can pose a risk to people’s health.