Hundreds of students marched alongside with workers outside the municipality of Petroupoli on December 18 against the landfill that has been in the city for more than 50 years and has been polluting all west suburbs of Athens destroying the environment and the health of the working class-popular families residing in the area.
What triggered this new round of rallies in the area are the plans of the administration of the Region of Attica to expand this landfill, instead of shutting it down, and to create a new one next to the municipality of Petroupoli. The responsibility for this unacceptable plan lies with the current administration of the Regional Government (which is supported by the conservative New Democracy), as well as with the previous one (which was supported by the social-democratic SYRIZA) that paved the way for new landfills.
Within the Coordination Committee of Unions and Associations of Petroupoli-Ilion (municipalities of Attica), local workers’ unions and the youth of the area reject these plans and struggle against their implementation.
The notably massive attendance of Petroupoli’s school students in the rally came as a result of the vanguard activity of the KNE members in the schools of the municipality. The school students-members of KNE alongside with other militant students created the previous years a Coordination Committee that is at the forefront of the struggle for the educational rights of the students and for every matter that concerns them. On the occasion of the demonstration, the Coordination Committee called for occupations, resulting in the seizure of 10 schools, out of the 12 that exist in the area.
With banners that wrote “We won’t get cancer for their profits”, “We don’t have two lives, to give one of them”, with placards, their voices and slogans, they send the message that the militant mobilizations against the deterioration of their lives will be escalated.
Workers and students put forward the following demands, among others:
- The shutting down of the landfill.
- Restoring the place and the broader area, relocating to a safe space the incinerator, carrying out an epidemiological study with no delay.
- Banning of any other waste management activity in the broader area.
- No plans for creating new landfills in the broader area.
- Setting eligibility criteria for the distribution of waste treatment facilities and final waste disposal sites.
- The above should be based on today’s scientific and technological possibilities, the adequacy of every potential region giving priority to protecting the health of the residents and the environment
- Ending the privatization-commercialization of the waste management
- A waste management in favor of the people. The scientific workforce and the technological advance should now be used for the implementation of a waste management based on the criterion of health and life quality of people. Α single public institution for management and final disposal of waste must be created that will prioritize the prevention of waste production and the promotion of recycling, with waste sorting at the source. Ensuring a special sorting of different kinds of waste. Creating treatment units, whose location will be chosen on scientific criteria and will be away from residential areas! Guarantying permanent staff with full rights and contemporary equipment. Funding and staffing of the municipalities’ services so they could adequately meet the needs of waste collection process.