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Garbage piling up on Athens street poses health risks

Athenians are in for difficult week as mounds of garbage are piling up in the capital of Greece, while temperatures are expected to soar to over 43 degrees Celsius in the week ahead, causing serious public health risks.

The Health Ministry released an urgent warning raising the alarm over possible spread of diseases through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO). The announcement called for the collection of trash from sensitive public buildings like hospitals, day care centres, schools and geriatric homes, as well as the disinfection of bins.

Refuse collectors have been on strike since last week protesting against the termination of temporary contract workers in the municipalities. They are scheduled to march towards Greek parliament on Monday. Meanwhile, the Mayors of municipalities in Athens are will meet later Monday to discuss the actions necessary to overcome the problem.

The government had initially promised to hire them on a permanent basis, but a court ruling overturned the government’s decision which led to the union workers initiating industrial action.

In light of the impasse, government spokesperson, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos recommended the introduction of a new 8-month temporary contract for permanent positions in the municipalities, speaking to television station Skai TV.