The Region of Central Macedonia (RCM) is the second most populous in Greece after Attica. RCM is also a very important region in terms of economic development producing various agricultural products, hosting industrial activities, services and tourism. One of the refinery plants of Hellenic Petroleum is in the region and very close to the metropolitan area of Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece.
The refinery was established in 1966 and the population at that time was ca. 5.000. Now days the population is ca. 100.000 (census 2011) in an area of 13 km2 and the current distance from the urban area is less than 500m. The social characteristics of the area comprise of working class consisting of people who are employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work, with an average GDP per capita of 14.000€.
There is no data on when the problem begun, but since at least a decade there are documented complaints on odour issues
The refinery claims that it follows the environmental permit requirements and also participates in major Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, to develop the municipality’s infrastructure and well-being. Furthermore, in the recent past, the refinery has been involved in panels with the public to explain the process
Major stakeholder is the Region of Central Macedonia (RCM) who deals with a serious environmental and social issue. The Municipality of Kordelio- Evosmos is another stakeholder along with the Citizens of the municipality that are organized in the Facebook group, ‘Breathing is our right’. The Refinery is also an important stakeholder that needs to deal with the complaints. Technical University of Thessaloniki finally provides consulting services and performs ambient air quality monitoring.