A brown smog has descended over Greece‘s cities. The smell of burned wood is prevalent, and those that suffer from asthma or have heart disease have been advised to stay inside.
And in a convoluted way, it’s the Greek economic crisis – or at least, one of the government’s reactions to it – that is to blame.
Tax increases on heating oil have driven the majority of Greeks, even those belonging to the upper-middle class, to turn to burning wood in order to heat their homes. But the practice, which includes burning painted scrap in unsafe braziers, is producing dangerous smog – and has even claimed a few dozen lives. And although exact tallies are unavailable, many have also died in fires caused by braziers and heaters.