Greek authorities have not done enough to curb air pollution in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, where airborne particulates consistently exceed acceptable limits, the European Commission said on Thursday, announcing that it is referring the country to the European Court of Justice for environmental violations.
“Greece has failed to fulfill its obligations” under the EU’s 2005 ambient air quality laws, it said, adding that data provided by Greece confirms “the systematic exceedances in the agglomeration of Thessaloniki in 14 years since 2005 (all years with the exception of 2013).”
Constantini Samara, a professor at the Department of Chemistry at Aristotle University, told Kathimerini that air pollution in the northern city is linked to heavy traffic in the city center, the burning of biofuels in the suburbs and the infrequency of strong, cleansing winds. She added that initiatives such as expanding natural gas use and renewing the city’s fleet of buses could help curb the problem.
The Commission also sent a final warning to Greece over its failure to “take the required measures to avoid the… deterioration of protected habitats” in Kyparissia Bay in the southwestern Peloponnese.
The area is an important nesting ground of the endangered loggerhead turtle.