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Landfill construction in Keratea, Athens

Local communities react to the implementation of landfill and recycling plant in the Attica region, imposed with no consultation and forcing land acquisition


The urban waste management in Greece represents a major environmental and social problem. Greece ratified with delay EU directives and the creation of sanitary landfill of residues/wastes and the implementation of recycling projects are still far behind. Especially in Attica region, where half of the Greek population live, the problem of urban waste management is crucial.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Landfill construction in Keratea, Athens
State or province:Attiki
Location of conflict:Keratea
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Land acquisition conflicts
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In the total area of 54 hectares it was planned to be constructed: a) a Recycling Sorting Plant of 72,500 t/y capacity in an area of 0.5 hectares, b) a Composting Plant of 40,000 t/y capacity in an area of 0.4 hectares, c) a pre-processing unit (organic drying) of 127,500 t/y capacity in a surface of 0.4 hectares, and d) a Sanitary Landfil of Wastes or Residues, of 127,500 t/y, (total capacity 4.2 million m3 in a surface of 17 hectares, e) infrastructure works, streets, etc

Project area:54
Level of Investment:15,810,787 (Budget); 14,992,060 (amount in the contract)
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:7,493 (City of Keratea) 25,102 (Municipality of Lavreotiki) 3,812,330 (Attica Region)
Start of the conflict:08/06/2008
Company names or state enterprises:MESOGEOS S.A. from Greece
PROET S.A. from Greece
EDRACO S.A. (Member of Edrasis - C. Psallidas S.A. from Greece
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change; Regional Authority of Attica; Association of Municipalities and Communities of Attica; Solid Waste Management Body of Attica Region
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Trade Unions, environmental grassroots, municipal parties, civil society organizations
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Noise pollution, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:Several alternatives were presented: environmental NGOs and civil society groups (PROSYNAT) proposed different plans for decentralized waste management in Attica region, comprising reduction of waste production, reuse and recycling. Municipality of Lavreotiki and Keratea residents proposed a plan for smaller quantities of wastes and a different location for the sanitary landfill. Today, following the changes in the head of Regional Authority of Attica, of the Solid Waste Management Body of Attica Region and the Ministry of Environment, new plans are expected to be presented by the competent authorities.
[8, 9, 10, 7 ]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Waste management is a difficult issue in Greece. Local communities react to the implementation of landfills and recycling plants, as the inadequate functioning of similar plants in different areas of Greece, and especially of Attica Region, downgraded the areas where they are located and provoke serious environmental problems. Central government planned waste management projects without any prior public consultation with local societies, and there were reactions, it blamed them for the syndrome “not in my backyard”. In Keratea the project was suspended, but the plans for the waste management in Attica region are not yet specified.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] Assimacoupoulou G. and Sipsas K., 2011, Comments on the validity of the new Joint Ministerial Decisions, approving waste management plants’ environmental conditions in Western Attica
[click to view]

[5] PROSYNAT (Communication Initiative for Waste Management), 2012, The Council of State pave the way for new projects in Attica
[click to view]

[6] Mpournous M., 2012, Waste Management - "gold" gift to "buddies" with our "money"
[click to view]

Le Monde, 2011, Greek protest over planned landfill site
[click to view]

[4] Lialios G., 2014, Problems and local society reactions since 1977
[click to view]

Indymedia (Greece), 2011, Background: the Mass Resistance movement in Keratea-Lavreotiki, Greece
[click to view]

[2] Papakonstantinou A. interview to Rossio A., 2011, The truth for sanitary landfill of wastes in Keratea
[click to view]

[1] Accardo N., 2011, The attican landfill war: a load of trash?
[click to view]

[10] Econews, 2011, Waste landfill in Keratea: Municipality of Lavreotiki proposed new location
[click to view]

[7] PROSYNAT, 2015, One step forward, two steps back…
[click to view]

[8] PROSYNAT, 2014, PROSYNAT proposal for revision of the Attica’s Regional Waste Management Plant
[click to view]

[9] Kirkitsos Ph., Ecological Recycling Society, 2012, Green proposal for Attica’s Waste Management
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Contrasts, 2011, Keratea High School
[click to view]

News broadcast on the clashes between Keratea residents and riot police, 2010
[click to view]

Keratea Art Resistance Festival, 2011
[click to view]

No sanitary landfill in Lavreotiki, 2010
[click to view]

128 days at the roadblocks, independent production, that started a few weeks after the invasion of the riot police in Ovriokastro and Keratea and it was completed in January 2013.
[click to view]

Exclusion criteria, 2010, it refers to the exclusion criteria for siting the landfill in the Archaeological Site of Ovriokastro, Keratea and they were completely ignored
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Ermioni Frezouli, Geography Department - Harokopio University Athens (HUA).
Last update18/08/2019
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