Athens landfill protest leaves tons of rubbish on streets

Thousands of tons of rubbish littered the streets of Athens Monday following a weeklong strike by workers protesting against dumping of partially-treated sewage at the capital's only landfill.

"We want deliveries of sewage to stop and all the muck already here to be removed," according to a union leader Costas Hardas.

The government has pledged dumping of partially-processed sewage from a treatment plant on an islet off Athens will end later this year.

But Hardas said the stink from an estimated 28,000 metric tons of sludge accumulated over the past few months at the Ano Liossia landfill, on Athens' northern outskirts, makes working conditions intolerable.

"Several workers had to be hospitalized as a result of the stench," he said. "After one hour's exposure, we are ready to collapse. We cannot continue like this."

Athens municipal officials renewed appeals on Monday for Athenians to keep their household garbage indoors, as some 40,000 metric tons of rubbish had piled up on the capital's streets.

Hardas said workers would meet Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss continuing the strike, which started last Tuesday, the AP reports.

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