Keeping the greater Athens area’s streets and sidewalks “squeaky clean” during next year’s Summer Olympics is the focus of a latest proposal unveiled by Athens 2004 organisers (ATHOC) late last month in cooperation with local government entities and central authorities, as trash collection and waste management expectedly ranks as a paramount issue for the congested Greek capital all-year-round.
ATHOC’s initiative, which is expected to have long-term benefits for the greater Athens area in the years to come, couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, as the partial close-down of the metropolitan area’s biggest landfill (in the working-class Ano Liossia district) left tens of hundreds of tons of rubbish on greater Athens’ streets in unseasonably warm weather this week. New landfill sites in Attica prefecture, a politically sensitive issue most everywhere in the industrialised world today, are expected to relieve the strain on the nearly saturated Ano Liossia facility.
Meanwhile, according to ATHOC, the primary goal is “clean cities” for next year’s Olympic Games through new organisational plans and waste management systems, something that will leave a much-needed “lasting legacy” for the Greek capital and surrounding municipalities. At present, the greater Athens area, which includes the major port city of Piraeus, hosts almost half of Greece’s 11-million population and practically two-thirds of the country’s economic output, something that translates into “big city” waste management and rubbish collection specifications.
ATHOC expects an additional 150 to 200 tons of garbage to be added to the volume generated daily in the greater Athens area during the duration of the Games. According to press reports this week, an average of 5,500 tons of rubbish are collected in the Athens metropolitan area every day. The malodorous situation this past week developed when Ano Liossia authorities allowed only 500 tons to be off-loaded in their landfill, the biggest such site in Attica prefecture.
In a previous letter to local authorities, Athens 2004 Olympic Organising Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki cited two “critical areas” in terms of waste management during the 2004 Games, namely, cooperation amongst local government entities and the procurement of additional heavy equipment, a matter that will probably be taken up at the central government level. A central authority for waste management and street cleaning throughout the greater Athens area may also be created.
The plan submitted by ATHOC on waste management and garbage collection includes a detailed analysis of each region’s and municipality’s needs and current data as well as the level of cleanliness each “Olympic Zone” must maintain during the Games.
In terms of Olympic facilities and related areas themselves, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki noted in her letter that ATHOC has re-issued a tender for a comprehensive garbage collection and waste management system, noting that a final decision will be made in early June.