Minister for the Interior’s answer to question about refuse and riot police in Corfu
ATHENS. In Parliament today, Thursday 28th, the explosive situation in Corfu due to the refuse and the presence of riot police was discussed following a question from the Communist Party MP Nikos Moraitis.
Mr. Moraitis said, “Since the early hours of Tuesday morning, the riot police (MAT) have been in Corfu to enforce with violence the operation of the landfill in Lefkimmi. The Temploni landfill, where the island’s waste has been collected, is oversaturated and can take no more. So the government, municipality and regional administration have chosen Lefkimmi as the ‘solution’ despite the opposition of the local residents.”
Panos Skourletis’ reply
The Minister for the Interior Panos Skourletis expressed the government’s determination to proceed with the decision to use Lefkimmi, pointing out that the tons of rubbish piled up on the Corfu roads in the middle of the tourist season “undermine not only the image of the island but of the whole of Greece”.
Mr. Skourletis claimed that the Lefkimmi facility would not operate as a waste landfill but as a residue landfill. He also claimed that it would be an interim operation.
The situation is a nightmare
Amongst other things, the Minister said: “Mr. Moraitis we can agree on the following – the situation in Corfu is a nightmare, and this is not just a recent phenomenon. We have seen the situation intensifying and threatening the local economy and jobs. If the situation with the refuse is undermining the local economy then that directly hits jobs. I read about the health of the working-class. Health is for everyone – both the working-class and non-working-class. Let me tell you how things stand: Up to 2015 we had 8 uncontrolled waste dumps, for which the country was fined and is still paying the fines. One of these remains – in Paxos. Temploni can no longer accept waste and there is landfill in Lefkimmi which has been completed but has never been in operation.
At the end of 2015, for the first time – and it was a revolutionary step for Greece – a national plan for waste management was created and in 2016 the equivalent was drawn up on a regional basis, which included Corfu. This plan foresees interim solutions, waste balers, separation systems at source progressing to a proper management system which is friendly to the environment and people.”
The Minister went on to say that the Lefkimmi facility is legal and that solutions such as that of transporting the waste from 100,000 residents and 5 million tourists to Kozani is “provocative, unacceptable and unecological”.
See the video (in Greek) – Mr Skourletis’ reply begins after 4’
The Communist Party MP Nikos Moraitis said that, “With the excuse of the deadlock that has been created by the various governments and local authorities over time, we are heading for the privatisation of refuse collection and waste management”.
He also asked the Minister what had changed regarding Lefkimmi landfill that it was now judged to be suitable whereas the present government had said before the elections that it shouldn’t be in operation. He added that tremendous efforts were being made to serve business interests at all costs.
Regarding the presence of MAT in Corfu, he said that the local authority had been doubly exposed – on Monday it said “the riot police aren’t coming” and the local media has published a letter in which the mayor requests that they come.
Mr Moraitis stressed that the procedures for locating and constructing a suitable new facility needed to be speeded up and there needed to be a commitment that the Temploni facility will finally be closed and redeveloped and that the illegal Lefkimmi facility, which should already have been restored, will not be used.
Video source: 902.gr