The piles of rotting rubbish spilling over onto the streets of the capital and other cities in Greece are a smelly reminder that the Socialist government must finally find a solution to the problem of trash collection. Most municipalities across the country have proven unable to tackle the issue. The policy of hiring sanitation officials on a short-term contract basis, a popular measure with local authorities in previous years, has backfired as repeated strikes have left them, and citizens, hostage to the whims and demands of refuse collectors. Experienced mayors and local officials have repeatedly pointed out that the only solution to the problem is to assign trash collection to private companies, which will cost less while doing a better job. For reasons that were never made clear, the New Democracy government that left office in 2009 did not give the green light for this to happen. The PASOK administration should remove the ban in order to put an end to the ongoing saga.