Greeks need to stay warm while facing rising fuel costs amid unemployment.
Due to increased fuel costs, Greeks are burning woods to stay warm and this causes air pollution problem in major cities. The concentration of fine air particles has risen 30 percent since the financial crisis began, leading to potential long-term health effects.
These fine particles, measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter, are especially dangerous because they can lodge deep into the tissue of lungs.
Read Greek Economic Crisis Leads to Air Pollution Crisis http://pressroom.usc.edu/greek-economic-crisis-leads-to-air-pollution-crisis/
The huge increase in demand for firewood has led to a surge of illegal logging. Also, funds relating to environmental projects are being channeled away from the environment to cover the national debt.
Even some thousand-year-old ancient olive trees are being chopped down to feed fire places, a great loss for Greece's cultural heritage. Read Protecting Crete's ancient olive trees from being fed to the fire
IOBE think-tank showing heating oil consumption has dropped by about three-quarters since 2009. In terms of revenues from heating oil tax, the government was more than 200 million Euros behind its target at the end of November. Read Smog from fireplaces in Greek cities causes political headache http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_23/12/2013_533591
Read Creditors reject 15 pct reduction on heating oil tax http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_11/10/2013_522724
The end results are no gains and only losses summarized below:
1. There are no increased tax revenue from collecting heating oil tax, as a matter of fact, it is a disaster policy according to this analysis. Read Quick and dirty analysis: Greek heating oil tax
2. During winter there is severe air pollution in major cities all over Greece causing environmental and health problems.
3. The chopping down of thousand-year-old ancient olive trees is a great loss for Greece's cultural heritage. In Taiwan old trees are respected and protected as 神木 (literally translated as "God" wood).
If you don't believe that most Greeks cannot afford to pay for the heating oil, just remember that one in two companies are not paying employees in time from this link http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_18/12/2013_532809
This winter I have increased the frequency of food donation delivery to my local church.