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Rubbish piles up across Corfu

Bags of rubbish in streets of Corfu

Holiday visitors to Corfu are promised clean beaches despite a waste dumping war that is engulfing the island.

It all began when residents of the south Corfu village of Temploni began protesting at the amount of rubbish being dumped at the local landfill site.

They say the site is already full and that health and safety standards are being ignores as authorities continue to stuff more waste in.

When a provisional landfill site opened up at the nearby tourist village of Lefkimi it prompted uproar amongst the locals

Protesters clashed with police while erecting barricades and trying to prevent waste lorries entering the site.

Riot police were brought in when flares were lit and rocks were thrown as waste trucks were escorted to the facility.

Police used tear gas and, for the first time on Corfu and four residents and three policemen needed medical treatment.

Meanwhile, the disruption has resulted in mounds of rubbish sacks building up in the streets of holiday resorts across the whole of Corfu.

Local businesses fear a tourist backlash on the popular Ionian island as piles of rubbish lie uncollected.

Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroublis flew to the Corfu to sort take a look himself and pleaded with residents of Temploni to give authorities a three-month breathing space to sort the problem out.

He backed the residents saying "the central state and the local authorities have been neglecting this problem, have not implemented the necessary standards to protects the residents and the environment."

It does not appear to have had much effect on Temploni residents and the waste dump remains closed.

Meanwhile, tourism officials insist the Corfu island beaches remain unaffected by the build-up of trash and promise that holidays will not be affected.

But towns and villages are suffering badly from plastic bags in the streets bursting at the seams while a recent heatwave makes the smell particularly bad,

Some restaurants have been fired to close until the bin bags have been cleared

Corfu authorities have started to clear the rubbish bags from the streets but the problem remains about where to dump it all.

Disposing of waste has long been a problem on Corfu which attracts holidaymakers every year in their tens of thousands.

In 2015 the EU threatened court action against Corfu authorities over the landfill site at Temploni, accusing them of flouting waster management standards.