Waste Transfer Station in Eykarpia, Greece

Residents and stakeholders are opposing the construction of a Waste Transfer Station and co-incineration technology close to the city of Efkarpia, promoting recycling and composting and not huge infrastructure that requires large amounts of garbage


Efkarpia (Mun. of Pavlos Melas) is located in the Greater Thessaloniki Area in Northern Greece, 10 km from the city center. In a distance of 700 m from the city of Efkarpia a Waste Transfer Station (WTS) was sited, behind a cement industry (Titan) currently in operation. The area was intended to be reforested. The 20 years’ regional solid waste management planning for Thessaloniki was approved in 2005 and it included the construction of 7 Waste Transfer Stations. At the end of 2007, beginning of 2008, the Efkarpia WTS was decided to be combined with a waste incineration plant and a recyclables sorting center [1]. The wider area is much degraded, as plenty of industrial activities are located, amongst others: 2 lime Industries, a non-restored landfill, hazardous waste treatment plants, illegal lead batteries processing and oil plants, 3 highways, etc. [2]. According to the plans, the Efkarpia WTS would receive the wastes of the 5 municipalities of Western Macedonia, including the 60% of the biggest municipality, Thessaloniki. The Environmental Impact Assessment foresees that the plant’s capacity will be from 1,100 to 2,340 tn/day and the estimation was for 400.000 tn/year. However, according to the official recording, wastes produced was 240,000 tn/year (e.g. 700 tn/day) in 2011. This reduction is partly due to the financial crisis and there are predictions that wastes’ production will be reduced the years to come. Beyond this, the EIA has several ambiguities and distortions [3]. Furthermore, in 2010 Titan asked for the permission for burning alternative fuels. The local movement considered that the plan is to have free fuel from the WTS and to get subsidy from the state [1]. The residents’ movement considered that this was a clear proof that their objections were well founded. However, under residents’ movement pressure, the license was revoked by the Thessaloniki Prefecture Council [4].

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Basic Data
NameWaste Transfer Station in Eykarpia, Greece
ProvinceCentral Macedonia
SiteEykarpia – Municipality of Pavlos Melas
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsPlant’s capacity: 1,100 to 2,340 tn/d – eg 400.000 tn/year (wastes from the 5 municipalities of Western Macedonia, including the 60% of the wastes of the biggest one, that of Thessaloniki
Project Area (in hectares)10
Level of Investment (in USD) 13,084,800,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population13,905 (Efkarpia) 99,240 (Municipality of Pavlos Melas) 1,074,827 (Prefecture of Thessaloniki)
Start Date01/12/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesCement Industry TITAN (TITAN) from Greece
Relevant government actorsSolid Waste Management Body; Municipality of Pavlos Melas, Prefecture of Thessaloniki, Regional Association of Central Macedonia, Association of Municipalities of Thessaloniki, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Solid Waste Management Body
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNetwork of 50 organisations and stakeholders against the construction of Efkarpia WTS next to TITAN in which parents associations; cultural, environmental and scientific organizations; unions etc. participated
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Genetic contamination, Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesThe movement asks for an integrated solid waste management, promoting recycling and composting and not huge infrastructure that requires large amounts of garbage. Furthermore, the Municipality of Pavlos Melas indicated a different location for the WTS, remoted from the residential districts.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Despite the movement’s dynamic struggle, the blockades and the legal proceedings, the works started again and the prediction is that the plant will be ready by July 2016. The movement and the residents declare that they won’t allow the operation of the plant and the use of waste as alternative fuel for the cement industry Titan. So, it’s not clear what the outcome of their struggle will be.
Sources and Materials

[1] Network of 50 organisations and stakeholders against the construction of Efkarpia WTS next to TITAN, 2012, Press Release concerning the Central Macedonia Regional Association of Municipalities meeting and our views
[click to view]

[9] Spassos M., 2014, Efkarpia WTS: we continue, Dromos newspaper,
[click to view]

[2] The positions of the Network of 50 organisations and stakeholders against the construction of Efkarpia WTS next to TITAN
[click to view]

[3] PM News, 2012, Debate: Network of 50 organisations vs Efkarpia WTS
[click to view]

[4] Stokokkino.gr, 2014, Efkarpia-Derveni, a story about garbage,
[click to view]

[5] No to the construction of Efkarpia WTS, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/%CE%8C%CF%87%CE%B9-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B7%CE%BD-%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%83%CE%BA%CE%B5%CF%85%CE%AE-%CE%A3%CE%9C%CE%91-%CE%A3%CF%84%CE%B1%CE%B8%CE%BC%CF%8C%CF%82-%CE%9C%CE%B5%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%86%CF%8C%CF%81%CF%84%CF%89%CF%83%CE%B7%CF%82-%CE%91%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%81%CF%81%CE%B9%CE%BC%CE%AC%CF%84%CF%89%CE%BD-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B7%CE%BD-%CE%95%CF%85%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%81%CF%80%CE%AF%CE%B1-258835137521318/

[6] Municipality of Pavlos Melas, 2012, Press Release on The efforts for changing Efkarpia WTS continue,
[click to view]

[7] Network of 50 organisations and stakeholders against the construction of Efkarpia WTS next to TITAN, Facebook page, 2012, Press release: We managed to stop once more the construction works in Efkarpia WTS, despite the presence of riot police,
[click to view]

[8] Network of 50 organisations and stakeholders against the construction of Efkarpia WTS next to TITAN, 2013, Press Release for the invasion of riot police in Efkarpia,
[click to view]

[10] Voria.gr, 2015, 20 inhabitants of Efkarpia were declared innocent for their participation in a protest against the construction of Efkarpia WTS,
[click to view]

[11] Alterthess.gr, 2015, Boutaris (Thessaloniki’s Mayor): The Efkarpia WST will be in full operation by July 2016,
[click to view]

Media Links

Blockade of the works for the construction of Efkarpia WTS
[click to view]

Other Documents

Blockade of Efkarpia WTS construction February 2012
[click to view]

Blockade of Efkarpia WTS construction January 2012
[click to view]

Demonstration January 2012
[click to view]

Protest during the Regional Council meeting March 2012
[click to view]

Riot police attack October 2012
[click to view]

Efkarpia WTS
[click to view]

Efkarpia WTS
[click to view]

Motor-bike Demonstration in Thessaloniki
[click to view]

Demonstration March 2012
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorErmioni Frezouli, Geography Department - Harokopio University Athens (HUA).
Last update18/03/2016