ATHENS, Sept 18 Illegal logging has surged in
Greece, as households suffering five years of recession hoard
wood to burn during the cold winter days in the place of
expensive heating oil, authorities said on Tuesday.
The environment ministry has ordered regional authorities to
step up checks in forested areas to crack down on unauthorised
loggers. "This phenomenon has soared recently because of the
crisis," it said in a statement.
Once a symbol of poverty, the lowly wood burning stove is
making a comeback among cash-strapped Greeks horrified by the
soaring costs of central heating as winter begins.
The price of heating fuel will rise 40 percent next month as
part of austerity measures to boost government revenue under
Greece's international bailout. The government is mulling a
heating fuel subsidy to residents of cold, mountainous regions.
Steeper heating oil prices come on top of other harsh
austerity measures, eroding further households' disposable
income. Use of wooden stoves, already much in demand last year,
is expected to rise even more.
(Reporting by Harry Papachristou. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)