ATHENS – Major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Athens’ main landfill at the area of Fyli will soon won’t be able to take any more waste, creating health risks for the public with little being done about it.
“Attica is sitting on a huge health and hygiene ticking bomb,” the New Democracy chief said during a visit to the site in northwestern Athens. “We will soon have to face a dramatic situation,” he said, adding that recycling rate is at a very low level.
Blue bins the size of rubbish dumpsters are on most neighborhood street corners but residents frequently toss their waste in them and environmentalists said the country won’t be able to meet European Union recycling targets.
With Greek municipal and European Parliament elections coming on May 26, Mitsotakis went to the dump with Regional Governor candidate Giorgos Patoulis to emphasize the problem and lack of response from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA government.
Waste management analysts said the dump will run out of space in under 10 months, or by around February, 2020. The Attica Regional Authority, under SYRIZA Governor Rena Dourou, facing charges for negligence in the deadly July, 2018 wildfires, has not launched a tender for sorting and composting facilities that would ease pressure on the site, said Kathimerini.
With strong opposition from communities, the authority has also not picked a location for new sanitary landfills, similar to the one in Grammatiko, northeast of the capital. But even if that were used as a backup, it would reach capacity in less than a year.
Attica municipalities have failed to implement local-scale programs on trash collection. In 2016, the government was ordered by the European Court to pay a 10-million euro fine ($11.29 million) for violating rubbish disposal rules, with as much as 80 percent winding up at landfill sites.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said the government had not complied with several deadlines to improve, risking human health and the environment.