OPINION

Crimes against our environment

It is indicative of the procrastination that characterizes our public administration that the European Union gives us funding to create the infrastructure we need for environmental protection but we effectively refuse to absorb it. It is senseless to talk about boosting growth through tourism while open landfills sit gaping next to holiday resorts and sewage pollutes our seas and beaches. One can only describe as madness the fact that nearly a third of environmental protection projects being financed by the EU’s cohesion fund have not even been started and that the remainder, with few exceptions, are seriously flagging. What sort of logic can explain such procrastination by our governments when faced with a persistent crime that not only degrades our environment but also the very future of the country itself? The time for justifications and excuses is over. Our country should have built the infrastructure currently being funded by the European Union a long time ago. It has not managed to do so and all evidence indicates that it will be unable to achieve this task in the foreseeable future. After all, despite the fact that Greece has been an EU member state for the past 25 years, it has not managed to set up the mechanisms to ensure the timely absorption of EU funding. Now the deadlines have become exceptionally tight, and not just those of the EU. The situation is reaching a dead end, as can be seen in Attica’s inability to manage its waste and the burning landfill at Tagarades which has been suffocating residents of Thessaloniki. Things have become critical and the government’s immediate intervention is imperative. What is needed is the constant and intensive monitoring of the mechanisms that issue the tenders for the projects and those which implement them. Hopefully this will help to avert the loss of further funding and ensure that some of these crucial works are completed.