Greek economic crisis worsens air pollution, writes Guardian

31 October 2016
170 Views

British newspaper Guardian published an article entitled “Air quality worsens in Greece as recession bites”, focusing on the impact the economic crisis the country has been facing on the environment. The piece points out that thousands of Greeks are forced to use any material, even trash to keep warm as they are unable to afford conventional energy sources to keep warm.

Greece’s financial recession is leaving its footprint on the environment. This follows twenty years of huge improvements in Greece’s air pollution. While most European countries struggle with the consequences of failure to control exhaust pollution from diesel vehicles, Greece benefitted from long-standing bans on diesel cars in the two biggest cities, Athens and Thessaloniki.

This allowed the country to reap the full benefits of technologies to control petrol exhaust, without these being offset by the poor performance of diesel cars. As a consequence nitrogen dioxide from traffic approximately halved alongside Greek roads between 1996 and 2006, in contrast to the lack of improvement elsewhere in Europe. Lifting the diesel car ban in 2012 and lower taxes on diesel fuel acted as a huge incentive for those struggling with travel costs. Amongst new car sales diesels leapt from less than 20% (around zero in Thessaloniki) to over 60%, but, so far, economic pressures have reduced traffic volumes averting a possible deterioration in air pollution.

However, a tripling in the cost of heating oil brought about larger changes as hard-pressed Greeks have switched to burning wood. Wintertime particle pollution increased by around 30% in Thessaloniki in 2013and air toxicity worsened on evenings when fires were lit. Analysis of wintertime air in Athens shows that it is not just logs that are being burnt. Along with chemicals from wood burning, scientists found lead, arsenic and cadmium particles, showing that people are burning painted and treated wood, and also their rubbish, to keep warm.

You may be interested

Trip to mountainous Nafpaktia
GREECE
shares36 views
GREECE
shares36 views

Trip to mountainous Nafpaktia

Panos - Dec 14, 2017

Seven mountains, countless forested peaks and a rough terrain define mountainous Nafpaktia, a 550-square- kilometer area that extends north of…

Greek 3-month T-bills raise 1.3 bln€ on Wed.; 1.6% yield
FINANCE
shares29 views
FINANCE
shares29 views

Greek 3-month T-bills raise 1.3 bln€ on Wed.; 1.6% yield

Panos - Dec 14, 2017

The Greek state drained 1.3 billion euros from the markets on Wednesday through the auction of 3-month T-bills, according to…

Greece should only get a debt deal after its bailout is finished, new Eurogroup president says
FINANCE
shares36 views
FINANCE
shares36 views

Greece should only get a debt deal after its bailout is finished, new Eurogroup president says

Panos - Dec 14, 2017

Greece needs to fully complete its current bailout program before the country receives any relief on its huge debt pile,…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.