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
NameLandfill construction in Keratea, Athens
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn 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 (in hectares)54
Level of Investment (in USD)15,810,787 (Budget); 14,992,060 (amount in the contract)
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population7,493 (City of Keratea) 25,102 (Municipality of Lavreotiki) 3,812,330 (Attica Region)
Start Date08/06/2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesMESOGEOS S.A. from Greece
PROET S.A. from Greece
EDRACO S.A. (Member of Edrasis - C. Psallidas S.A. from Greece
Relevant government actorsMinistry 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 organisations and other supportersTrade Unions, environmental grassroots, municipal parties, civil society organizations
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Public campaigns
Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Refusal of compensation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Development of alternative proposals
Official complaint letters and petitions
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-economic 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)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNegotiated alternative solution
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Land demarcation
Development of AlternativesSeveral 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 as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

[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]

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

[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]

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

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

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

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

Media Links

Contrasts, 2011, Keratea High School
[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]

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

Keratea Art Resistance Festival, 2011
[click to view]

Other Documents

Keratea residents demonstration
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Road closure by Keratea Residents
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[click to view]

Kerateas Art Resistance Festival Poster
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Clashes between residents and riot police
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Clashes between residents and riot police
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Keratea residents demonstration
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorErmioni Frezouli, Geography Department - Harokopio University Athens (HUA).
Last update09/07/2015