Greeks rather die from fireplace smog than pay exorbitant heating oil prices

Posted by in Editor, Society

Everybody is warning us. The Environment Ministry, the National Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, the Greek Doctors’ Association. They all urge us to immediately stop burning wood in the fireplaces and stoves and turn on the heating oil or natural gas system to comfortably pass through the cold winter days.

They tell us of unhealthy fumes, of cancer causing particles, of respiratory and heart problems and allergies triggered by burning wood and pellets of unknown origin and composition. They even speak of dangers for our neurological and reproductive systems.

The appeal to parents of babies and young children and caretakers of chronic ill. “Stop burning wood” read the slogan.

They caution on the inscreased pollution measurements especially in Athens but also in other big cities like Thessaloniki, Larissa… Theyspeak of an almost toxic smog.

Athens by smog: Dec 26, 2012. Picture by Yannis Larios

They admonish us about the health risks we are going to face if we insist in not paying the exorbitant heating oil and natural gas prices. 2,000 liters of heating oil at a price of a total 3,200 euro, paid in advance. Ha!

They speak of horrible, tricky and invisible tiny bits of dangerous material swinging inside our homes or outside in the atmosphere.

But all those caring institutions do not advice us where we all find the money to pay the heating bills, that went up by 50% when compared to those of last year.

So we sit in front of the fire place or the stove and caugh. Evening in, evening out. We caugh and wonder whether the reason for our caughing is a winter virus infection, a simple cold or the invisible leathal particles.

We sit there with our music producing lungs. It’s not the sound of a happily pouring cat or the sound of the development and growth coming in our county. It’s the wheezing of our affected lungs whether due to weather and viruses or due to air polllution.

 We sit right in front of the fire place and caugh our lungs out. Like the old Dickens characters who caugh everytime they actually attempt to laugh.

 But who cares? At least, we will die …warmed up.  There is this damned possibility that we will have neither a home, nor a fire place next year.

Property owners will have to pay to the state six different taxes for one single property until April 2013.

So, who cares about death by smog?

By the way: All these caring institutions do not say a single word on air pollution and neccessity of anti-pollution measures when the summer temperatures having us live and hardly breath inside a suffocating smog cloche.

Charles Dickens – Bleak House, written 1852-1853:

“Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun….

 Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ’prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds.

 Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongey fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy. Most of the shops lighted two hours before their time — as the gas seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look.

 “Fog in the eyes and throats… wheezing by the firesides….”

 When one thinks of the Troika imposed abolished labour rights and the minimum wages, we in Greece are living in pre-industrial times anyway. Even though the calender tells us it’s the year 2-0-1-3.