The Ministry’s Fireplace Police Force

restrictions-fireplaceIt may sound like a joke, but it is an official government thought. This measure may even be included in the Joint Ministerial Decision that will be signed sometime in the following days. As unbelievable as it may sound, the government is planning to take measures in order to impose the ban of fireplace use when the atmosphere is loaded.

Wood burning is now facing the wrath of the government as it is found to be one of the main reasons for high particulate matter concentrations in the air, especially in winter. This new phenomenon has increased in the last years because of the economic crisis. ManyGreek households cannot pay for gas, so they have to warm their houses by using the fireplace.

The Greek newspaper “Eleftherotypia” wrote that the relevant measures are part of the JMD draft and are entitled: “Long-term Action Plans to Cope with Air Pollution by particulate matter.” The use of fireplaces and wood-stoves will be prohibited depending on the region and the concentration of dangerous particles in the atmosphere.

The plan includes a stage of warning when the concentrations are between 100 to 150 micrograms per cubic meter of air. At this stage citizens will be prompted to limit the use of fireplaces.

However in the second stage, when particulate concentrations exceed 150 micrograms the government is considering to ban their use.

Nothing has been mentioned about energy fireplaces and pellets.

This of course raises a lot of questions.

How will this measure be enforced?

Will there be patrols by a “fireplace police force?”

Will there be snap checks to determine if the fireplace or the wood stove is indeed lit in a specific apartment of a building? If so won’t that violate the citizen’s right to refuge?

Even though it may sound unlikely, the ban is under discussion and has already become the theme of many jokes.