Fast action needed on eco-crimes

The case of the Asopos River, like that of the illegal quarries in Markopoulo, which are both located in the Attica region, are just two examples of corruption and entwined interests at the local authority level that triumph over the state in the battle for the imposition of the country’s laws. Despite numerous investigations, decisions and charges having been brought in court, the Asopos continues to be a dumping ground for industrial waste because the guilty parties are protected by a cross-party mechanism. In both these instances of crimes against the environment, Tina Birbili, the new environment minister, is being presented with an opportunity to prove in very tangible terms that some things can change in this country. However the solution to such problems does not lie in simply slapping the offenders with large fines. This has been done before and the guilty parties simply ignored the summons to pay up. What we need to see the minister do is implement specific programs so that local industries and manufacturers are either forced to solve the problem themselves by investing in environmentally sound technology or face being shut down.

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