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Unionists warn waste management price will increase three times

31 December 2010 / 18:12:55  GRReporter
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Trade union leaders of municipalities’ workers in Attica insist recycling projects to continue and do not accept the decisions for digging pits in which waste will melt organically passing first through the mechanical processing plant. Currently after the waste in Greece is collected from the bins on the streets it goes straight to the so-called HITA - landfills, where the waste is covered with soil to decompose. Mayors’ proposal is a plant for mechanical processing of waste to be built which, according to sources, reduces its volume by 80%. Waste will be separated in allocation centres according to the materials of which it is composed and pressed to reduce its volume and finally it will go to the new HITA where it will be buried.  According to trade unionists of waste management workers, this method is rather old and is no longer applied anywhere in developed European countries because it is environmentally unfriendly and quite expensive. Their proposal is the projects for recycling to continue and start still at home through separate waste disposal.

Even before the beginning of the meeting between the union of municipalities’ workers and municipalities of Attica (OSRKOOA) yesterday, trade unionists came into the hall Titania hotel, chanting "These measures, these policies are rubbish" and broke the meeting. "The union, which deals with management, meets today for the third time in Titania hotel under very difficult conditions and, as we saw, they put iron door at the entrance of the hotel not to allow workers to attend an open meeting. We will oppose the waste management transfer and will stay here to not let the implementation of the plans under consideration to privatize the waste management in Attica," said George Hardas - president of the workers union at OSRKOOA.

The opinion of Mr. Hardas is that the consequences of privatization will affect not only workers who will lose their jobs, but especially the citizens of Attica as they will pay three times higher waste fee that now is included in electricity bills. This will make the cost of waste management higher even than the current price in the words of the leader of the union of workers in waste collection and management. "Landfills are sufficient to take the waste in the next three or four years, so there is no reason to implement the procedures envisaged. We believe that we should start the discussion again, to see what we will do with recycling, which is not progressing at all, to find a better solution for the waste. Waste management is more feasible across Europe while here we chose to apply a method which will result in much higher costs than those of even larger countries in the European Union that avail technologies and know how," added Mr. Hardas.

According to the proposal of waste management workers, recycling projects should be continued and recycling should start from the source, i.e. the waste to be separated at the very household. "This will reduce the volume of waste, its management would be clearer - we do not say anything new, and we want to apply a system that proved to operate efficiently in Germany, Austria, in more developed countries. It is impossible to get mixed waste and require it to be separated or burnt subsequently. It is apparent that it will be burnt which is a bad method and we consider it dangerous. We are against waste burning. We are against the application of procedures that will burden Attica’s citizens even more," ended Mr. Hardas.

There was uncontrolled landfill in the district of Ano Lyocell in Athens in 2007, which caused some environmental problems because no measures have been provided for the good of the neighbourhood. The state board adopted a decision in the same year three large landfills to be made in the Attica region despite the reactions of the residents of the areas in which they were placed. Recent reactions of Keratea area residents in early December led to severe clashes with the police as the people do not want one of the new waste landfills to be located there. A modern plant for biological waste treatment of Attica’s waste was built on the small islet of Psitalea.

"Currently the cost for processing a ton of waste is 42 euros. The real cost is around 25 euros and the remaining amount goes to the municipalities near the landfills as compensation for having landfill in their area. They say from municipalities that the new method will increase the cost three times, which will affect the residents of municipalities as they pay for this. Mechanical separation plants have already been abandoned in other countries because this is the worst method. These plants produce bad waste harmful for the environment if burnt or buried. Other types of plants are needed for recycling. Serious economic interests are involved and the fast track procedure is triggered. This issue affects not only the Attica region. Other organizations, environmental organizations should be bound as the issue can not be limited within the trade unions as it affects the whole society," said George Harisis –another trade union member.

 

Tags: NewsLandfilWasteRecyclingSeparate waste disposalProtest
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