OPINION

Facing our own dross

The ongoing attempt to create a garbage dump at Grammatiko, in northeastern Attica, may be seen as an intriguing spectacle. The protagonists are two: public administration and society. The town planners decree that a dump will be sited next to a developing residential area; the residents of said area react, having recourse to the courts. Time passes, needs change, Attica drowns in its own garbage, the administration’s decision becomes law, the residents react violently. The result? A dead end. This is a heedless, garbage-producing society where neither citizens nor lawmakers deign to discuss solutions such as recycling and reconsidering social attitudes. This society, which functions without any thought for principle, self-respect or moderation, creates problems that require immediate attention. The lawmakers come up with hasty, half-baked solutions with no respect for either the environment or citizens. Rather, they divide society into warring factions that constantly attack one another. The question is not whether the law is being upheld, or even what we should do with all the garbage. The question that needs to be answered now, is this: What kind of strategy are the administrators of Greece applying to the needs of its 4 – or is it 5? – million people? Pushing the mountain of garbage a little further away from the front steps of Athens’s maisonettes? Perhaps an even more important question is whether – and how – this society comprehends its own needs. We improvise and lazily patch things up. We think with out-of-date tools, rusty with misuse. We act for short-term benefit, passing on the problems we created to the next generation. We do not face the wider implications of our actions; we lack innovative thinking and social cohesion. Our dismal weaknesses are being played out on the stage of Grammatiko, where the problems borne of our own negligence and hypocrisy are out in the open; the dirt we have swept under the rug has finally spilled out for all to see.