ATHENS – Greece’s miserable environmental protection record is getting more costly as the European Court of Justice imposed a fine of five million euros ($6.16 million) on top of 3.28 million euros ($4.04 million) every six months more that the government fails to meet wastewater treatment regulations in the Thriasio Plain in western Attica.
Judges ruled that Greece continues to be in violation of an earlier ruling from 2004 by not taking the “measures necessary for the installation of a collecting system for urban waste water from the Thriasio Pedio area to the west of Athens, and not subjecting the urban waste water from that area to treatment more stringent than secondary treatment before its discharge into the sensitive area of the Gulf of Elefsina,” said Kathimerini.
According to the ruling, while a treatment plant had been constructed and put into operation by 2012, the secondary collection network has not been completed and nearly half the population in the area is not connected to the tertiary system.
The court noted that there have been improvements over the last 14 years and explained that the fine took into account “the mitigating factor linked to the important archaeological heritage which this area is home to and the difficulties invoked by Greece in that regard, as well as that Member State’s reduced ability to pay as a result of the economic crisis.”
The European Union’s directive regarding urban waste water treatment came out in 1998. Over the years, Greece has ignored or disregarded EU environmental laws over landfills and other issues and been constantly fined.