Maybe Ifs and Ands, But Athens Wants No Butts


Gopa project. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Christos Bonis)

ATHENS – Anyone who's walked the streets of Athens knows that looking down will show a mind field of tossed-away cigarette butts because there's no place to put them, which the city government has been trying to change by adding special containers.

The yellow boxes mounted on polls are designed to encourage smokers to get rid of what's left of cigarettes without dropping them in rubbish containers where they could burn other other material.

They had already been installed under the so-called Gopa project – the word is Greek for a cigarette - in the main Syntagma Square as well as the heavily-traveled areas of Gazi, the Ermou Street shopping district and Monastiraki tourist area.

The boxes are essentially just giant ash trays and now more will be put in the areas of  Metaxourgeio, the big tourist stretch from Plaka-Thiseio-Psyrri as well as the second biggest public gathering area of Omonia and the neighborhood of Petralona.

The aim is for the 25 boxes to collect more than 250,000 cigarette butts every year, which will then be recycled, said Kathimerini.