Interior, Decentralisation and E-governance Minister Yiannis Ragoussis on Friday told Parliament that the government was moving toward a new national plan for solid waste management, with a greater emphasis on recycling and sorting organic waste at source.

Replying to a question tabled in Parliament by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras, Ragoussis said the aim was to significantly change the public's behaviour as consumers, as well as current patterns in waste management.

The minister reported that of some two million tonnes of refuse generated in Attica each year, only 10 percent was current processed before ending up in the Ano Liosia landfill site in west Athens and roughly the same percentage was recycled, while 80 percent went straight to the landfill for burial and downgraded the environment of millions of west Attica residents.

Concerning controversial plans to create a new landfill site in Keratea, which has local residents up in arms and triggered clashes between locals and riot police, Ragoussis said that this would not be a classic landfill but also waste-processing centre that would include a composting unit for pre-selected organic wastes, a centre for sorting recyclable materials, a waste processing unit and a landfill site for any remaining waste.

He noted that a similar facility was planned for Grammatiko in northeast Attica, while a composting unit would be built at Fyli, west Attica.
The minister also announced an immediate tender for integrated waste management units in Attica that will deal with 65 percent of the waste generated, so that by 2014 the quantity of waste destined for burial would not be greater than a quarter of the total. He said this would be achieved through an extension of programmes for the recycling and sorting of organic waste at source, so that the sorted quantities tripled in the next five years.