ATHENS – With fire officials already looking at arson as the likely cause of a toxic-fume filled fired at a recycling plant, the investigation is expanding into other alleged wrongdoings.
Authorities are investigating possible links between the fire that destroyed the plant in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens – looking also at whether it was done for insurance -and an illegal waste shipment from Greece that was intercepted by Bulgarian police last month.
The 40-ton cargo that was falsely tagged as recyclable waste, is believed to have been illegally exported to Bulgaria for disposal, sources told Kathimerini. The truck, owned by the same company that runs the Aspropyrgos facility, was sent back to Greece.
Another Bulgaria-bound shipment, exported by the same company, was reportedly intercepted in 2012. The company was then slapped with a 132,000-euro fine.
Several non-governmental groups said the plant that was supposed to be recycling waste collected from bins around the capital were just treating it as garbage, undermining the country’s efforts to reuse materials.
The facility, which has been burned three times in the past three years, has been repeatedly fined by Greek authorities for reckless operation.
The fire lasted for days and filled the air with acrid, cancer-causing smoke, leading to fears that dioxins will get into the ground and food chain. It’s common for Greek businesses to ignore fines and escape punishment.