The Greek Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ministry said it will rush to reduce the number of illegal landfills around Greece, in order to reduce the imminent fine imposed by the European Commission, the ministry’s general secretary said.
The European Court of Justice has fined Greece with 54,450 euros per day for the 293 illegal landfills that remained open until last June in Greece.
The ministry’s aim is for Greece to present as few open landfills as possible by December 2, when the court is expected to issue its decision formally, Nadia Giannakopoulou said in an informal briefing. The general secretary said it would make a huge difference in the calculation of the final penalty if all active landfills have been closed by then and projects to rehabilitate the area have been auctioned.
Giannakopoulou said the 22-million-euro fine imposed on Greece for failing to comply in the period from 2005-2009 with EU’s waste management rules in the first court ruling cannot be avoided. She said there are now 57 active illegal landfills around Greece, half of which are on small islands and another 205 inactive landfills which have not been rehabilitated. The most problematic regions in Greece are the Peloponnese and the islands of the South Aegean.
The ministry is preparing a plan to stop the operation of the maximum amount of landfills by moving them to appropriate areas, in accordance with EU laws. It is also aiming to acquire certificates verifying their closure, preparing the legal framework for the maritime transport of urban waste, or the temporary management.
Giannakopoulou also said the prefecture of the Peloponnese is ready to auction rehabilitation projects for 82 illegal landfills, with a total cost of 31 million euros.
The Environment ministry has also placed a draft law in public consultation which would promote recycling around the country, giving priority to municipalities with active illegal landfills.