From: Associated Press
Published March 1, 2005 12:00 AM

Athens' Sludge Mountain Upsets Residents

PSITALIA, Greece — Residents near a giant seaside sewage plant close to Athens staged a protest Tuesday, alarmed by reported plans to burn thousands of tons of potentially toxic sludge.

The plant on the tiny island of Psitalia treats most of the city's sewage and industrial waste and is credited with cleaning up the once-polluted Saronic Gulf.

But protesters _ led by local mayors _ fear rapidly growing excess waste at Psitalia could be burnt, sending dangerous fumes to nearby areas such as Piraeus, the country's main port.

"If you burn the sludge, you have dioxins. That's simple chemistry," Nikos Haralambides, director of Greenpeace in Greece, told The Associated Press.

The overload problem began after Athens' main landfill, north of the city, stopped taking sludge loads and four additional pits were dugs at Psitalia to house the excess.

The Athens Water and Sewage Company, which runs the plant, is considering several disposal options, including turning the sludge into compost, and "vaporization" _ a process it insists would produce legal emission levels.

Source: Associated Press

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