Unhealthy smog is back because of fireplaces in Athens

Unhealthy smog is back because of fireplaces in Athens

Athens, December 23, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Olga Mavrou

With the fall of temperatures in Athens and other Greek cities, an environmental and health problem appeared once more: elevated levels of smog. The reason is that Greeks can’t afford electric heating or gas and heating oil and they turn to wood. Since 2009 stoves and fireplaces increased firewood and charcoal consumption, which in their turn increased the level of particulate matter (PM10).  The average (for 24 hours period) acceptable value of fine particles in the atmosphere is 50 micrograms per cubic metre, because fine particulate matter poses great risks to children, the elderly and people with chronic lung disease and asthma. On December 19th the level of PM10 was twice the acceptable (it reached 94 μg/m3 in Athens).

The Ministry of Environment asks citizens to try to avoid using for fuel, wood or biomass or other combustibles that release PM10.