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Greek gov’t to ban operation of fireplaces & wood burning stoves and fine wrongdoers

Here one more time the post, as many KTG-readers would not open it either via links in FB and Twitter or directly from Homepage.

There is an army of “counselors”, “advisers”, “experts” and “specialists” sitting in their fuzzy warm offices in several Greek ministries. This army of well-paid and spoiled slackers spend the winter months “at work” because the taxpayers come up for their heating needs. the money is paid also by those taxpayers who freeze in their own icy cold homes because they cannot afford the exorbitant prices for heating oil, natural gas and electricity needed for A/C.  And yet, this gang of snobbish clock-watchers who got their jobs through connection to politicians never runs out of ideas how to enforce the debt-ridden citizens of this troubled country to spend huge amount of money for the shake of the Troika and the loans their politician friends wasted with their friends.

What is the latest measure the Greek government in general and the Environment Ministry in particular worked out for this upcoming winter?

To ban the operation of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves and to impose fines and penalties to those ignoring the ban.

Under the pretext of environment pollution and instead of reducing the prices of heating oil and natural gas, they will forbid the home heating via fireplace and stoves. In the heart of the winter.

According to daily Eleftherotypia that brought up the story with the title:

The ridiculousness of the day: Fireplacemeter (according to idiotmeter)

the Ministry of Environment plans to reduce air-pollution in Athens and other major cities by implementing a ban on fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.

The measure will apply from 3 up to 15 days in the coldest days in the heart of winter, when fireplaces and stoves operate in full power by the bankrupt Greeks.

Last year, clouds of yellow-gray smog covered the Greek capital and other major cities across the country, especially in the late afternoon and evening hours, when people had to heat but had no money to buy the conventional heating material.

“The Ministry of Environment is trying to prevent a similar phenomenon in the upcoming winter months and according to Eleftherotypia information, “the ministry will ban the use of fireplace and stoves when levels of air pollution are higher than 150 μg/m3″ – and when heating a home is needed most.

The ban measure will  reportedly apply per region and time intervals, while those violating the measure  will be identified via ...chimney-watching (sic!).

The daily noted that the draft issued by the Environment Ministry has been forwarded for approval to six other ministries in charge.

The height of fines and penalties have not been disclosed so far.

Already last winter, there were rumors that the government was planning to impose some kind of special tax for fireplaces and stoves. This year, the nightmare will come true.

I don’t doubt that the air pollution in Athens during last December, January and February was unbearable. But the Greek government should rather reduce the prices of conventional heating means and/or control the market of selling wood and check the material quality first. But as I hear on television, there is no control mechanism for the wood market.

The measure is much too violent and heartless and honestly I cannot imagine of a single ironic word in order to comment about it. I am simply shocked.

Can you imagine the fireplace-police (or will it be called “wood-police”?) enters your home and fine you with 100 euro or even detain you for heating your home because of your old and sick parent or your young and fragile baby?

Brrrrr! literally and metaphorically.

PS there must be certainly a reason why private STAR TV broadcast “V for Vendetta” every three months.

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5 comments

  1. I see civil war just around the corner yet again!

  2. As somebody suffering from Asthma and having some basic knowledge about the effects of particle matter on the respiratory system, I agree in general terms with the ban of open fire places in urban areas. In the long run also more efficient wood burning heating facilities should be banned from urban areas.

    In general the burning wood trade in Greece is supplied a lot from olive grove clearance, many times illegal ones. Another issue that doesn’t show a sustainable practice both in environmental and in economic terms. Another argument against wood burning.

    Of course the way this topic is approached by the Greek government is – as most issues – highly unprofessional and without any respect for the poorest. It is ridiculous to push the majority of people to switch to wood burning because of the exorbitant oil prices and the lack of viable alternatives due to lack of infrastructure and ban wood burning then in the next step in a short term and short sighted decision.

    Another fact that many don’t know is that heating costs in Greece (also in southern districts) are way above those of modern houses in the Alps where temperatures stay well below zero for extended periods every winter. So instead of heating subsidies incentives, subsidies and obligations for improved insulation, modern, sustainable heating systems, investments in community heating and long-distance-heating could be of much more and much more sustainable benefit for the people.

    Everytime I pass from Elefsina and I see the huge flame above the refinery I image how many (thousands of) households could have heating and hot water from the energy of this single flame – which is now just blown into the air 24/7.

  3. you are right. the sole purpose of the government is the ban in order to prohibit people from using affordable material for heating and return to heating oil, natural gas – in GR 30% higher price than elsewhere in Europe, therefore unaffordable too – or electricity. The government doesn’t care about pollution or people’s health. As a person with respiratory allergies, you cannot imagine how I suffer from air poluution in summer. and nobody cares.