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Bad news for austerity-stricken Greeks is also proving to be bad news for the environment – specifically the air quality in Athens.

Wood has soared in popularity, with many of the city’s residents using it to heat their houses, after an increase in duty has seen the price of heating oil double in two years.

The government says the price hike is to stop motorists putting it in their car, instead of more expensive diesel.

Now business is booming at the lumber yards, but that does not mean extortionate prices according to George Mihas who owns one in the north of Athens.

“In my neighbourhood, we were three or four shops. Now we’ve become twenty. Our customers have spread out to all the shops. You try to sell as cheaply as you can to your customers so you don’t lose them,” he said.

More wood being burnt and geographical position of Athens – a basin surrounded by four large mountains – is causing more smog and more potentially harmful particles in the air.

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