January 30th, 2013
10:48 AM ET

What's been burning in Greece?

Why have parts of Greece been covered in smog?

The smog is said to be not from cars or coal plants, but from the smoke from wood stoves and fireplaces. And it's not because the Greeks are curling up with a good book. It seems that there has been a massive switch off heating oil as many can no longer afford it to heat their homes. Bloomberg says heating oil prices have risen here 50 percent from 2011 to 2012, mainly due to the heavy taxes levied on. So the Greeks are turning to burning everything from furniture to chopped down trees, some illegally cut from protected forests.

According to the EPA, a fireplace emits more than 2,000 times the amount of fine particles that an oil furnace does. Surely, the environmental and health care costs from toxic clouds of smoke exceed the benefits of collecting high heating oil taxes, especially if the citizens are no longer buying it.

soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Irene

    That would be great if the US would allow that! Our former prime minister was a target of the US when he agreed to participate in the the gas pipeline project with Russia.

    February 2, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Reply
  2. Stan

    I have been reading these comments. It sounds like many are expecting the US economy to fall. I must admit it is my greatest concern. Having lived well over half a decade and I have seen many friends and family pass away. I notice in most cases the individual will show signs of improvement just before the end. It is like the body gives it one last charge. If you think about it you will remember the same thing happening. I hope this is not what we are seeing with the US economy today.

    February 3, 2013 at 12:45 am | Reply
  3. dd

    This is Obama's vision for the US as energy prices skyrocket because Obama shut off coal.

    February 3, 2013 at 10:18 am | Reply
  4. Kodak

    When my family and I lived in Greece some years ago, it was almost amusing to watch people avoid paying taxes. Our landlord was a master at tax evasion. He showed me all kinds of ways they do it. One of the taxes he could not avoid was on heating oil. Hence, because heating oil was one of the few ways that could earn the Government a buck, the tax on that heating oil was HUGE! Like liquid gold! We cried when we left Greece some years later. Our time there was WONDERFUL! But what is happening there today is not surprising in the least.

    February 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  5. tbone

    Maybe George Soros should go straighten out his native land instead of playing puppet master with his puppet Barry in the USA.

    February 3, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      George Soros isn't Greek.

      February 5, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  6. Irene

    To all the people who say Greeks don't pay taxes...I lived there for 10 years and paid income taxes. VAT on foodstuff was 13% and on "luxury" items 23%. We left 2 years ago and continue to file out income taxes and pay the xaratsi. Please stop making idiotic and unfounded statements. Ignorance is dangerous.

    February 5, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Reply
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